I'm very pleased to present this, my third NHSScotland Chief Executive's Annual Report.
Once again, the achievements outlined in this year's report are a tribute to the outstanding commitment of all NHSScotland staff, and to the dedication of colleagues in our partner organisations - including those in the voluntary and third sector, whose contribution I greatly value and appreciate.
I'm grateful for their continued focus on improving the quality of care for patients.
Our focus on quality continues to be at the heart of everything we do in the NHS. Indeed, the standards we have for the NHS in Scotland are world class and we should reflect on that point when we consider how our NHSScotland is performing.
We have made and sustained significant improvements in reducing Healthcare Associated Infections. We have seen reductions in Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios within acute care which, in simple terms, means that our approach to safety and quality has reduced the number of deaths significantly. Our A&E performance this past year has been the best since 2011/12 - and Scotland can be proud of its international record. Importantly, patient satisfaction with NHSScotland remains high. Ninety per cent of hospital inpatients who took part in this year's Scottish Inpatient Patient Experience Survey, rated their overall care and treatment as good or excellent - the highest rating since the survey began - and 87 per cent of those who responded to the Health and Care Experience Survey rated the overall care provided by their GP practice as good or excellent.
However, I very much recognise the challenges we face. Health budgets are going up, but pressures on recruitment, and the demands of an ageing population, are also very real. There is also still much to do in tackling inequalities and improving the health of the population, which NHSScotland cannot do on its own. And we do know that people have the best outcomes when they are treated and cared for at home, or in a homely setting. So our current models of care are changing to meet these demands, and to provide the most appropriate care and treatment for people, when they need it.
With that in mind, you'll remember that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport launched the 'Creating a Healthier Scotland' national conversation which ran from August 2015 to March this year. This gave people the chance to tell us what matters to them about their health and social care services.
Feedback told us that people want us to stay true to the founding principles and core values that led to the creation of the NHS nearly seventy years ago.
It also told us that people want to live happy, independent, healthy lives and that there is an appetite for change in a number of areas to ensure we're well placed to meet the challenges we face.
So across the whole of our health and social care system, it's important that we work together on our continued commitment to drive transformational change and to ensure that people have access to the best possible care when they need it, and that we manage our resources efficiently and sustainably in pursuit of that aim. That's why the investment in the reform of Primary Care services is so important, both in terms of providing diagnosis, care and treatment, and in its contribution to improving the health of Scotland's population. Our National Clinical Strategy, along with our work to maximise the benefits from health and social care integration, are key components of our response.
There's still a long way to go but I hope this report gives us the opportunity to celebrate our success and reflect on the work still to do.
I'm grateful for the ongoing dedication of our committed NHSScotland workforce and our partner organisations, and hope you enjoy reading about their collective achievements.
Chief Executive, NHSScotland
and Director-General Health and Social Care