In June 2018, this Government and COSLA set out Scotland’s public health priorities which represented agreement between the Scottish Government and Local Government about the importance of focusing our efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. This was the first step of our partnership of reform to improve the public’s health and wellbeing. Today, we set out our detailed proposals for the next step in the reform programme, the creation of a new national public health body to be known as ‘Public Health Scotland’.
We are determined to build a healthier and fairer Scotland, one where health and wellbeing is improved and protected while health inequality is steadily reduced. A healthy life expectancy with the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing should be the norm for everyone, regardless of circumstances, location or economic background. That’s why we have made tackling health inequality a priority, and why we are building a whole system approach to the public’s health and wellbeing that emphasises prevention, early intervention and innovation.
The creation of Public Health Scotland will consolidate and strengthen our existing public health assets, enabling better targeting and coordination of all of our resources through the effective use of intelligence and data science. By supporting the transition to integrated preventative and early intervention solutions, Public Health Scotland should ultimately help reduce demand and financial pressure across the whole system.
It’s our shared responsibility to make sure that people get not only the best treatment and care, but the best overall quality of life we can provide. We want to support good healthcare and a good life by empowering individuals, communities and organisations to make the best decisions they can.
Sustaining progress will ultimately be down to the passion and determination of the whole public health community, in all of its diversity, with Public Health Scotland at its heart. It will mean using information to support self-management of health and to facilitate timely interventions delivered through new models of care. We want to use the latest technologies to understand and influence behavioural and environmental determinants of health and wellbeing, and to transform our systems to support healthy, independent living.
The consultation considers how Public Health Scotland will contribute to this vision and how the body can combine with partners and communities in developing the multi-disciplinary approaches required to solve the national public health problems of our age. Public Health Scotland is only one part of a complex system that can influence health and wellbeing. To be successful, we must develop a new body that can build on the strengths of that whole system across sectors. This consultation is an opportunity for a genuine dialogue on the role of the new body and our public health reform aspirations, so we hope that everyone with an interest in tackling the public health challenges Scotland faces will take part.
Joe Fitzpatrick MSP
Councillor Stuart Currie