I am pleased to be able to highlight the many achievements of the NHS in Scotland over the last year by publishing my NHSScotland Chief Executive's Annual Report for 2011/12.
In a number of important areas of patient care, NHSScotland has delivered its best ever performance during the past 12 months. Waiting times are at their lowest ever levels, care is safer than it has ever been, levels of premature mortality have been further reduced and patients continue to rate their care very positively. Those achievements, I believe, are the result of the relentless commitment of NHSScotland staff (managers, clinicians and support staff) to improve the quality of care.
NHSScotland has achieved this level of performance in the midst of a challenging economic and financial climate. It has been vitally important that we have continued to manage our budget effectively and to meet our efficiency targets. At the same time as we have improved the quality of care and secured value for money, we have also been striving to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. Progress in this area has been through both groundbreaking legislation, such as that on alcohol minimum pricing, all the way through to delivering hundreds of thousands of individual interventions with people to tackle potentially harmful alcohol consumption or to perform targeted health checks.
In the chapters that follow, I have set out the evidence and data that supports my reporting of strong levels of performance in a range of areas. I am encouraged by the level of international interest in what we do. In reporting these successes, I am also keen to stress that there is no complacency in NHSScotland. Everyone realises that there is more to do. There have been particular instances over the last 12 months where the NHS has not been at its best. We are determined to learn from those events and to use the experience to accelerate our improvement. However, my firm belief is that the NHS is heading in the right direction - delivering better health, better care and better value than it has ever done.
I think there are a number of factors behind the success of the last 12 months:
- The continued and sustained focus on the Healthcare Quality Strategy for Scotland* as the means to achieve care that is safer, more effective and more person-centred, rather than on structural changes;
- The outstanding commitment and dedication of NHS staff and the strength of NHSScotland's partnership arrangements;
- A stronger focus on prevention and anticipation through initiatives such as the Change Fund, Detect Cancer Early, Self Management programme etc; and
- Our continued commitment to achieving improvement through integration - an approach that will be even more important as we join together health and social care.
It is a great privilege to be part of NHSScotland and to be able to publish this report on behalf of its staff. I hope that you enjoy reading about what the people in our NHS have achieved.
Director-General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland
* All publications referred to within this document can be found in the publications section of the appendices.
Email: Andrew Wilkie