A National Clinical Strategy for Scotland - Summary

Scotland’s National Clinical Strategy sets out ideas on how NHSScotland needs

to change to ensure health and social care services are fit for the future.

We're going to tackle over-diagnosis, over‑treatment and waste

Modern medicine provides enormous benefits to individuals and communities, but on occasion, people can be treated for conditions that don't really require active medical intervention. This situation leads to waste of NHS resources by providing care that doesn't add value for the patient.

We are proposing a new approach to ensure that people only ever receive treatment that is proportionate to their problems and relevant to their needs. When patients have full information about their conditions, they are in a strong position to learn how to manage them. Well-informed patients also tend to choose simpler treatment options that are less likely to cause them harm and create fewer disruptions to their daily life. So we are committed to continuing to work with patients to support them to be confident partners in decision making around their health.

Medical investigation and treatment rates vary across Scotland. We need to understand why this happens to see if we can create greater consistency by challenging variations in clinical practice.

We all want to reduce risk, and the tendency to provide treatment to reduce the chances of a condition occurring has been growing for some time. This can be hugely beneficial - giving people with lung conditions vaccinations to reduce the risk of 'flu, for instance. But it can also mean individuals being put on treatments that may not benefit them personally, and in fact may cause harm.

We need to be certain that treatments always bring added value to all people, and that harm is minimised. Medical care should be neither wasteful nor harmful and, above all, should match the wishes of well-informed patients who fully understand the risks of treating and not treating.


Email: Karen MacNee

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