Scotland's public health priorities

Report on Scotland's six public health priorities.

03 The Road to here: Developing the Priorities

The agreed priorities reflect the issues we believe are most important to focus on over the next decade if we are to improve the health of the nation.

Over the last year, the Scottish Government and COSLA, working with a range of partners and stakeholders, have engaged widely across Scotland to develop a set of priorities for the whole system. We have undertaken a number of collaborative activities and engagements, including a series of regional engagement events which involved several hundred people from across the public and third sectors. And we have worked with public health and other experts to develop criteria and to assess and weigh the evidence. We have tested our emerging conclusions with experts and other stakeholders. We have also reviewed Local Outcome Improvement Plans ( LOIPs), to ensure our new public health priorities are consistent with local community planning priorities, and we have reviewed key information sources and strategies relevant to public health to help inform the development of the priorities.

The agreed priorities reflect the issues we believe are most important to focus on over the next decade if we are to improve the health of the nation. The priorities are a foundation for the systemic change needed to achieve real and tangible improvements in the nation’s health and are intended to provide a focus for our collective efforts.

The priorities are inter-related and interdependent, reflecting the complexity of Scotland’s health challenges and the effort needed nationally, regionally and locally to make a difference.

The priorities do not reflect all of the activities and efforts that contribute to the health of the population in Scotland. Local priorities and local variation to reflect local need will continue to be important. There are many important activities undertaken by councils, public health professionals and others in Scotland, which are included in the broader public health reform work but which are not explicitly reflected in these thematic priorities.

For example, our work to protect the health of the population from serious risks and infectious diseases through vaccination, infection control and incident response (health protection), will continue to be an essential public health function and must be maintained. We will not compromise our existing, high quality protections and our ability to respond to emerging threats.

We also need to continue, and strengthen, our efforts to ensure our health and care services are designed and delivered in the best possible way to meet population needs and improve health and wellbeing.

But these priorities reflect those things where we believe a concerted effort across Scotland will help us reach a tipping point at the national level in the state of Scotland’s health, and which will lead to the greatest reduction in health inequalities.


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