Person-centred care: advice for non-executive board members

Resource booklet for NHSScotland non-executive board members with an interest in person-centred care.


This resource is one strand of a wider induction and development programme led by the NHS Chairs Group and the Corporate Business Management Team at the Scottish Government.

This booklet sets out the various aspects within the person-centred portfolio, with each chapter relating to some or all of the ‘Must Do With Me’ areas. It offers points for NHS Board Non-Executive Members to consider as they drive forward the person-centred care agenda.

Person-centred Care

Delivering person-centred care is a strategic priority for NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government. Working in partnership with people who use health and social care services, their families and carers, to deliver care which meets their needs, is a vital part of achieving our 2020 vision for Health and Social Care.

There are many definitions and dimensions of person-centred care. In the Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHS Scotland, we have described it as: “Mutually beneficial partnerships between patients, their families and those delivering healthcare services which respect individual needs and values, and which demonstrate compassion, continuity, clear communication and shared decision making.”

It is, perhaps possible to describe person-centred care more simply. Fundamentally, the person-centred approach means asking not, “What’s the matter with you?”, but, “What matters to you?” 

It means finding out who is important to the person, and working with them and their loved ones to support their care.

It means providing the information people need to be fully involved in decision making, ensuring that services are as far as possible organised around their needs, and enabling them to be involved in their care at the level they choose.  

We are at an important juncture in the provision of health and social care. Person-centred approaches are at the heart of this transformation and this booklet introduces the key policy strands supporting development towards this exciting new era.

Practical improvements to person-centred care are promoted and supported through the framework of five key ‘Must Do With Me’ principles.

1. What matters to you?

We will ask you about your personal goals and the things that are important to you. These things will form the basis of everything we do with you.

2. Who matters to you?

We will ask you about the people that matter most in your life and will help you to stay connected and involve them in the way that you choose.

3. What information do you need?

We will provide you with understandable full information and will support you to make decisions that take account of your personal goals and the things that are important to you.

4. Nothing about me without me

We will always involve you in any decisions, discussions or communications about you.

5. Service flexibility

As much as possible, the timing and method by which you contact and use services or supports are flexible and can be adapted to your personal needs.

Together, these five ‘Must Do With Me’ principles of care will help to ensure that all of the interactions between people using services and the staff delivering them are characterised by listening, dignity, compassion and respect.



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