Making it easy – understanding the health and care system: progress report

Progress report on the 'Making it easy' action plan, which aims to help people deal with the complex demands of the health and care system.


"We want Scotland to be a health literate society which enables all of us to have sufficient confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills to live and die well, on our own terms, and with any health condition we may have."

At the core of Making it Easy was a call to redesign how we deliver and organise enabling care as if viewed through the eyes of people who are accessing and navigating the system, collaborating with their professionals and self managing. It pledged to:

  • Raise awareness amongst the workforce of the hidden problem of health literacy and help them respond accordingly
  • Build a go-to web place for health literacy evidence and resources
  • Promote innovation in what helps
  • Develop a beacon site for a health literacy responsive organisation.

Making it Easy has given encouragement and inspiration to many health literacy champions who are making a real difference and working hard to help achieve our ambition. Internationally it is contributing to the case for action on health literacy and helping other countries to follow suit. However, it has been just a start and we welcome the process of building the next steps in Making it Easier, the refreshed action plan which will be published later in 2017.

Health literacy is now a World Health Organization (WHO) global health promotion priority. At home, it resides at the heart of our person-centred care ambitions, Realistic Medicine and the transformation towards more enabling integrated health, social and community care services.

Scotland, with its spirit of innovation, community and commitment to rights and equity is well placed to remain at the vanguard of this important agenda.


When the Making it Easy action plan was published in 2014, it was welcomed as a fresh approach. It strived to build people's skills, confidence, knowledge and understanding to help them deal with the complex demands of the health and care system.

The concept of health literacy comes from research showing that the healthcare system fails to consider people's information needs. Scotland has pushed the boundaries in accepting the problem and has moved on to test actions to remove these barriers.

This was summed up in the two images that defined our approach (below).

With such a positive reaction to the plan, the challenge was to complete the actions in a way that supported Scotland to be a more health literate country.



Email: Blythe Robertson,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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