Our approach to health and social care is rooted in the right of people to have safe, effective and person-centred healthcare. Ensuring that we all have continuing, and improved access to high quality care is our guiding principle.
In Scotland we are living longer, meaning we are often living with more complex health conditions than in the past. These are not unique challenges to Scotland and are being experienced across Europe and beyond.
We have been focusing in recent years on shifting the balance of care to address the some of these evolving needs of the people of Scotland. However, increasing demand on our services makes it essential that we take action to guarantee our whole system of health and care has the capacity, co-ordination and workforce to deliver the best care possible in every setting.
We do so in an uncertain environment - not least the damage that EU Withdrawal will do to our health and care services - but we are determined to take decisive action.
As set out in our Medium Term Health and Social Care Financial Framework, we must continue both our significant investment and plans for reform to sustain our health service long into the future.
This Improvement Plan focuses on reducing the length of time people are waiting for key areas of healthcare. People are too often waiting too long to receive the help they need. As was set out in the Financial Framework, investment is predicated on the assumption that the funding the UK Government has promised through consequentials - following its announcements in NHS England - will be delivered as a true net benefit to the Scottish Government's budget. Clearly any actions by the UK Government which did not deliver this additional funding as a net benefit would be to the detriment of potential investment.
This plan takes account of the wider context of national, regional and local planning, health and social care integration, workforce planning, primary care development and the overall reform agenda. This includes the recognition of the relationship and impact unscheduled care demand will have on the capacity to deliver its objectives and we will work closely to agree a balanced approach to ensure patients' needs are met.
This Waiting Times Improvement Plan outlines the steps and timescales we will take, alongside significant and focussed additional investment to support this work. It sets out the clear deliverables over the next 30 months and how these will lead to improvements throughout this period.
Email: Philip Raines