Creating a healthier Scotland - What matters to you

Summary report of the findings from the Healthier Scotland national conversation.

Moving Forward

You gave your time and effort to contribute to the Conversation, and you want to know how your input will influence policy. We heard lots of thoughtful and heart-felt opinions and ideas, and we've summarised them in this report. We will now take time to consider before responding.

The relevant teams within the Scottish Government will consider the findings from the Conversation, alongside other evidence, and existing and planned policy developments.

This will involve wider discussions with others to reach a shared view on how best to respond and take account of what you have told us. Other engagement activity will come into this process, including work from the Young Scot Health Investigation Team, and engagement events following the recent publication of the National Clinical Strategy.

We'll consider the overall findings in relation to future direction of travel, and alongside recently published reviews and policy developments such as the National Clinical Strategy, the Government's response to the Out of Hours Review, and the Public Health Review. This will require open and honest discussion about priorities as we develop an action plan for the future.

We know a lot of you want to be involved in the next steps, and we'll make sure there's more public engagement as we go forward. The new Our Voice framework will help to facilitate dialogue.


A recent review of public health in Scotland recommended the development of a Population Health Strategy to improve everyone's health, and to make sure we continue to enjoy a high quality NHS in the future. The Conversation findings strongly support this position, and the strategy development will build on these findings, picking up on the importance of lifestyles and behaviour change as well as health inequalities.

The Conversation findings are already helping to inform the priorities for a new Mental Health Strategy, which we expect to publish in mid-2016. The need to intervene early and improve access to services will feature strongly. As part of the strategy development we're planning further engagement with the wider public, third sector organisations, service users and clinicians.

The recently-published National Clinical Strategy for Scotland reflects some of the initial findings from the Conversation, including the need to have a greater focus on person-centred, joined-up care, and easier access to local services. Further work over the coming months will help us better understand your views on the areas that affect you most.

Findings from the Conversation will inform the redesign of primary care services, specifically the work being progressed by the Primary Care Transformation Fund. It will include the trial of new models of care, such as Community Health Hubs. These new hubs will provide a range of services currently only available in acute hospitals, saving time and travel for many patients. The first Community Health Hubs will be piloted in Fife and Forth Valley in late 2016.

Some organisations mentioned human rights and the right to health. Many more of you raised human rights issues implicitly in your feedback. As part of the Conversation the Scottish Government and NHS Health Scotland hosted a seminar on a human-rights based approach to health and social care. There will be further collaboration with the SNAP Action Group on Health and Social Care to build on this work.

There is more information and context to many of the issues raised during the Conversation on the Healthier Scotland website This includes blogs from a wide range of contributors on a diverse range of issues including walking for health, palliative care, and building the capacity of parents to improve outcomes for children and families.


Our approach to the Conversation has been consistent with our distinctive Scottish Approach to government, where we work in a more participative and co-productive way with people and communities, actively drawing on their assets, skills and experiences to improve lives
and outcomes.

The National Conversation on a Fairer Scotland - which focuses on social justice - has taken place alongside the Healthier Conversation. The connections between the two are clear. Tackling issues such as fair work, a decent standard of living and affordable, good-quality housing will have a direct impact on addressing health inequalities.

There were also a number of common themes across the two Conversations, including the need for strong communities, the valuable role played by unpaid carers, and the importance of giving children the best start in life.

Both Conversations provided practical examples of the Scottish Approach to government. Both used a range of innovative methods to involve people, going beyond traditional forms of engagement. We will now reflect and learn from the Conversations, and build that learning into these policy areas, and more broadly across the Scottish Government.


"In order to engage with the real issues and be part of setting priorities, the public must understand that difficult decisions have to be made."

"Honest, simple language will help people from all walks of life feel welcome to contribute to these important discussions."

"We need to close the 'feedback loop' to make people aware that their voices are being heard, and acted upon."

"Innovative and collaborative approaches should be the norm for how we design and deliver services."

"We should have more opportunities to speak directly to people in power in the health service and government."

"Community engagement should be meaningful and lead to something. The focus should be on quality, not quantity."

"We need to make more effort to reach people who wouldn't normally contribute."

"Resources are needed to support and empower public participation at all levels."


Throughout the Conversation you told us you want to be involved in the next steps - in the planning and decision-making which will lead to change at national and local level.

Since summer 2014, a partnership including the Scottish Health Council, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, COSLA, the Scottish Government, the ALLIANCE and other third-sector organisations has been exploring ways of involving the public in the continuous improvement of health and social care services.

The Healthier Conversation has adopted the principles of Our Voice in its design and implementation. Our Voice will continue to support dialogue about what matters and what needs to change, and encourage you to become part of that process.

Our Voice - Working together to improve health and social care

Our Voice is based on a vision where everyone can influence how Scotland's health and social care is run. This includes those who use it, organisations, carers and members of the public. Our aim is to develop a framework that allows everyone to have their view heard, so that Scotland's health and social services can be improved at both local and national levels. After all, the people who are closest to our services are best placed to shape them.

To find out more about Our Voice and to get involved, visit

You can also contact the team by phoning 0141 241 6308, or by writing to: Our Voice, 4th Floor, Delta House, 50 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G1 2NP.


Email: Ricky Vernall

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