1. Ministerial Foreword
The Heart Disease Action Plan 2021 is published during a time in which the NHS in Scotland has been facing an unprecedented level of pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has brought the need to address heart disease in Scotland into even sharper focus, having had a significant impact on people with heart disease and on the services that support them.
Heart disease remains a significant challenge in Scotland and I am clear that it must remain a priority for Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. Delivering this plan will be crucial to that continued prioritisation.
In this action plan, we set out our vision of minimising preventable heart disease, and of ensuring timely and equitable access to diagnosis, treatment and care. We have outlined the importance of providing appropriate support to enable people with heart disease to live well with their condition. That means identifying ways to support people with the emotional and psychological impacts of heart disease, giving as many people as possible access to specialist support, including vital rehabilitation services, and where necessary, supporting access to palliative care.
Achieving all of this is dependent upon a workforce that feels supported to deliver innovative models of care. Furthermore, it is important that we underpin the vision outlined in this plan with an ability to effectively use data to understand the delivery of care for people with heart disease across Scotland. This will ensure that we can identify and address unwarranted variation, measure progress, and direct resource where it will make the biggest impact on patient outcomes.
The actions set out in this plan take a whole system approach, encouraging collaboration between primary, secondary and specialist care, community care and third sector services.
In that collaborative spirit, the plan was developed in close collaboration with clinical advisors and third sector partners. It incorporates feedback from the National Advisory Committee on Heart Disease, and from people with lived experience of heart disease. We are grateful for the input of all stakeholders to this plan, and look forward to working with them to ensure its successful implementation.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their invaluable contributions, and to thank the professionals working hard to deliver excellent care to people with heart disease across Scotland.
Mairi Gougeon, MSP
Minister for Public Health and Sport