Scottish Government
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Planning and delivering for patients

New priorities set for health and social care services.

Health Secretary Shona Robison recently outlined new guidance to help health boards and local authorities jointly plan local services.

Reducing health inequalities and providing dedicated support in early years have been identified as a priority for Scotland’s NHS, as health boards have been set six improvement areas to drive forward services and quality of care.

For the first time separate, mutually supportive, guidance also sets out what local authorities and health boards will be asked to deliver in 2015/16 as part of the new partnership working legislation which comes into force from April.

Integration of health and social care will ensure that people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time, and that people are supported to stay in their own homes and communities as much as possible.

The guidance sets out the key standards that the health service will be expected to meet in the next year. This includes standards around A&E waits, the treatment time guarantee, GP access and child and adolescent mental health waiting times, and also focusses on improving preventative and anticipatory care.

NHS boards are expected to improve the 12 week outpatient waiting times performance during 2015/16 to achieve a 95 per cent standard with the aim of getting to 100 per cent. The guidance ensures delayed discharge remains a key priority for health boards and the new integrated partnerships.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“We all know that Scotland’s people are living longer. Not only does the Scottish Government want to ensure that people are living healthier long lives, but we want more older people to be supported to stay in their own home and local communities. 

“We will only achieve this by ensuring that our health and social care services work seamlessly together – something Scotland is already leading the way on across the UK.

“This guidance sets out the Government’s vision for how health and social care will be brought together with services delivered around the patient’s needs. A key element of this guidance is the retention of a focus on reducing delayed discharge. While we have made substantial progress since this Government came to power, recent increases suggest we need to do more. This guidance should provide clear indication that we expect boards and the new integrated partnerships to deliver significant reductions in people spending longer in hospital than they have to.

“This government is clear that health inequalities must be tackled, every child in Scotland should have the best start in life through better early years support and that every patient treated by our NHS receives safe care centred on their needs.

“We're absolutely committed to supporting our NHS to deliver world-leading care. That is why we have clearly outlined the standards of care that Scottish people can be assured they will get from our NHS.

Scotland has some of the strongest health standards in Europe, with standards introduced by this Government reducing waiting times to among the lowest levels on record. This has seen more Scots diagnosed and treated quickly for cancer, greatly improving their chances of survival. We will continue to do everything we can to support health boards to achieve these standards.

“Of course our system of health and social care must put the quality of care and the interests of people using services first, and these standards are just one part of our continuing drive forward to further improve care.

“Through this guidance we have reviewed the standards to ensure the focus is on those which provide the most significant benefits.”

The guidance will help health boards and the new integrated partnerships deliver care that puts patients, service users, families and carers at the heart of service planning and delivery.

Notes To Editors

NHSScotland LDP Guidance 2015-16 is available here:

Strategic Commissioning Plans Guidance is available here:


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