Before I take this opportunity to highlight the many achievements of the NHS in Scotland over the last year, I must first of all pay tribute to Derek Feeley who led NHSScotland as its Chief Executive throughout 2012/13. His personal impact can be tracked through to some of the world-leading approaches to improvement we have seen in the quality and safety of our healthcare services, and his commitment to this work was most concisely summed up in a statement he gave recently to the Holyrood Magazine, where he stated that 'quality is the thing that binds us all together'. It has been my honour to act as the interim Chief Executive for NHSScotland since his departure, and it is in that capacity I am delighted to be able to publish this annual report.
NHSScotland continued to deliver world-leading performance during 2012/13. Waiting times remain at their lowest ever levels, care is even safer than it has ever been, healthy life expectancy has continued to increase and patients continue to rate their care very positively. Those achievements are the result of the relentless commitment of all NHSScotland staff to focus on improving the quality of care throughout the year, including over winter 2012/13 which saw an early impact of norovirus, creating additional challenges across the healthcare system.
The context within which these achievements have been secured continues to create real challenges, and will continue to do so for the years ahead. Increasing numbers of people living longer with multiple conditions reflects huge successes in our approaches to lifestyle, care, treatments and support. The impact has to be managed carefully, with greater levels of demand for new medicines, technologies and treatments at a time of increasing economic challenges. While we will never be complacent, I continue to believe that despite these challenges, the culture and values of quality improvement, integration of health and social care services, co-production, prevention and partnership are the ingredients which will ensure that we achieve our 2020 Vision of sustainable and world-leading safe, effective and person-centred healthcare in Scotland.
I believe that it is only through the NHSScotland workforce that we will achieve this vision for high quality healthcare. That is why I am so pleased to be able to report on the important work carried out in 2012/13 with colleagues across NHSScotland to establish a single set of core values of: care and compassion; dignity and respect; openness, honesty and responsibility; and quality and teamwork. Our 2020 Workforce Vision is that:
'We will respond to the needs of the people we care for, adapt to new, improved ways of working, and work seamlessly with colleagues and partner organisations. We will continue to modernise the way we work and embrace technology. We will do this in a way that lives up to our core values. Together, we will create a great place to work and deliver a high quality healthcare service which is among the best in the world.'
The chapters that follow set out the evidence and data that supports the reporting of strong levels of performance in a range of areas. There continues to be increasing international interest in what we do, and the approach to quality improvement we have implemented across healthcare is now being tested and rolled out across the wider public sector in Scotland.
I hope that you enjoy reading about what the people in our NHSScotland have achieved, so often now in partnership with our colleagues across the rest of the public and the third sector.
Interim Director-General Health and Social Care and
Chief Executive of NHSScotland
Email: Andrew Wilkie