Scotland, like every other developed country, is experiencing radical demographic change. More people are living for longer, which is a cause for celebration, and is a sign also of the significant improvements we now enjoy in terms both of our standard of living and the success of our health and care services. We have put significant effort into preventative and anticipatory care, and to enabling self-management of a range of long-term conditions. Nevertheless, these positive changes bring with them challenges in terms of the way we plan for, organise and deliver the health and social care services that provide vital support for many people, particularly in their later years. We recognise that we cannot rest on earlier success. Reform is needed now to improve care, particularly for older people, and to make better use of the substantial resources that we commit to health and social care in Scotland.
This consultation sets out our proposals to improve the quality of the outcomes we achieve, now and in the future, via better integration of adult health and social care in Scotland. I am delighted that the development of these proposals has directly involved our partners in NHS Scotland and local government, and has benefitted from input from many stakeholders, including representatives of the professional groups and the third and independent sectors.
As we have developed these proposals, our approach has been to focus on the key questions about what matters most to people who use services. What are the improvements and outcomes they want to see, and what are the barriers in the current system that prevent professionals and staff from using their considerable skills and resources to best effect? Our objectives are to ensure that:
- Health and social care services are firmly integrated around the needs of individuals, their carers and other family members;
- That they are characterised by strong and consistent clinical and care professional leadership;
- That the providers of services are held to account jointly and effectively for improved delivery; and
- That services are underpinned by flexible, sustainable financial mechanisms that give priority to the needs of the people they serve - rather than the organisations through which they are delivered.
The Scottish Government and its partners - statutory and non-statutory - are committed to putting in place a system of health and social care that is robust, effective and efficient, and which reliably and sustainably ensures the high quality of support and care that is the right of the people of Scotland.
Scotland is a small country, with a proud history of social co-operation. We are building this ambitious programme of improvement on an unrivalled foundation of professionalism, commitment and expertise, and a track record of partnership working over a number of years. We will use all of these advantages to make sure that our proposals for integrated health and social care make best use of our collective wisdom, experience and insight.
This consultation provides an opportunity for you to contribute your views on the new legislation that we are proposing to support our objectives. Legislation will be only one small part of the collective effort that will deliver on our goals, but it is an important part nonetheless. We look forward to hearing your views on our proposals.
NICOLA STURGEON MSP
CABINET SECRETARY FOR HEALTH WELLBEING AND CITIES STRATEGY
Email: Gill Scott