Review of targets and indicators for health and social care in Scotland

Independent national review into targets and indicators for health and social care.

Targets, indicators and information for improvement

39. It is important to be explicit about what this review will NOT consider. If indicators set a direction of travel for a system and targets indicate that a goal is being reached, improvement processes are the actions which are taken to allow the system to move in the appropriate direction. These can involve many tests of change in pursuit of continuous improvement. Health and social care staff in Scotland have had extensive experience of these methods in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme and the Early Years Collaborative. It is beyond the scope of this review to consider the detailed processes by which an improvement approach might deliver the indicators. However, targets and indicators by themselves will not guarantee appropriate action across the system. A method for achieving change should be explicit. For example, one current target is: "improve children's services." No one could argue that this is a desirable target. However, if we do not have an understanding as to what constitutes improvement and a method by which they are to be improved, then progress will, at best, be slow.

40. This review, therefore considers the relevance of current targets and indicators to the overall objective of achieving a healthier, flourishing Scotland. The methods for improvement which might produce progress need to be designed and implemented by the wider system of staff and people using services.

41. Nor is it possible for this review to consider the information required by local organisations in the management of services. Some responses to this review suggest that it is expected that it will recommend reduction in the amount of data collected by public sector organisations. Such reductions might come about as a result of new approaches suggested by this review but that will be for local decision.


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