The launch of Living and Dying Well: A national action plan for palliative and end of life care in Scotland in October 2008 marked a new era in the Scottish Government's commitment to the implementation of a cohesive, person-centred and sustainable approach to the equitable provision of high quality palliative and end of life care across Scotland.
Since then, considerable progress has been made in implementing the actions identified and in undertaking the further development and collaborative work required to achieve the full range of Living and Dying Well's aims. That process has been marked by the enthusiastic and effective engagement of key stakeholders across all relevant sectors. Moreover, the palliative care approach, with its emphasis on advance care planning based on empathic relationships and clear communication between patients and carers and all the professionals who work with them, is now firmly embedded in the wider healthcare policies of the Scottish Government.
The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland, launched in May 2010, is about putting people at the heart of everything we do. It is based on the priorities people in Scotland have told us they want to see in their health services:
- caring and compassionate staff and services
- clear communication and explanation about conditions and treatment
- effective collaboration between clinicians, patients and others
- a clean and safe care environment
- continuity of care and
- clinical excellence.
Living and Dying Well is one of the key building blocks already in place which will help us to achieve our Quality Ambition of ensuring mutually beneficial partnerships between patients and families and those delivering healthcare services which:
- respect individual needs and values and
- demonstrate compassion, continuity, clear communication and shared decision-making.
I am delighted to endorse the achievements celebrated in this document, and welcome the future actions identified in taking us further towards our aim of ensuring that the right palliative and end of life care, at the right time, in the right place and of the highest standard is consistently and equitably available across Scotland for everyone who needs it.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing
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