Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Chief Executive Robbie Pearson shares our organisation’s vision to deliver safe, effective and person-centred care through the Leading quality health and care for Scotland: Our strategy 2022-27. He also outlines how you can have your say in how the final strategy is shaped to meet the needs of all the people of Scotland.

As Scotland recovers from the pandemic, Healthcare Improvement Scotland recognises that there’s a need for boldness – boldness in our actions to improve health outcomes for people, and boldness to ensure we meet the needs of diverse groups and to tackle deep-rooted inequalities.

Our organisation is here to support the highest quality, safest care for everyone, and this approach can be found in our draft strategy for 2022-2027 which is currently out for consultation. But in order to meet such a broad range of needs across society, we have to reach out; to communicate our thinking and to gather in opinions.

Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to summarise the key points of our strategy and to reach out to you, whatever your circumstance, to ensure that our intended approach is meeting everyone’s needs.

Meeting unprecedented challenges

As we all know, the health and care system in Scotland is facing unprecedented challenges.

This strategy is shaped by the need to concentrate our efforts in four key areas:

  1. A recovered and strengthened health and care system – the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most significant threat to our health and care system, and it has also highlighted some deep seated inequalities in Scotland. The recovery from the pandemic will be a long and difficult road and there will be a need to retain and strengthen aspects of our capability to respond to similar future challenges. Adjusting to these circumstances is a recurrent theme through this strategy. We must use this opportunity to redesign services so we reliably deliver what people need, when they need it.
  2. A person-centred system of health and social care – the commitment to establish a National Care Service is a central aspect of our future priorities. We will support the creation of a fit for purpose service which works to consistent standards, supports people to remain independent and which affords everyone fair access to high quality care.
  3. A systematic drive to address inequalities and injustice – the pandemic has disproportionately impacted groups who already experience disadvantage in society, including on the basis of socio-economic circumstances. Particularly impacted are minority ethnic groups, disabled people, people with long-term health conditions, people living in poverty, unpaid carers, older people, children and young people and women. Impacts range from more severe illness and death to increased poverty and social isolation. A priority must be to highlight pre-existing injustice and take concerted action to narrow health inequalities.
  4. A healthier and more sustainable future – there is a need to take radical steps in supporting improvements in the health of our population and to actively address sustainability and the global climate emergency.

Our actions will also remain firmly anchored in the ambitions of Scotland’s Healthcare Quality Strategy – to deliver safe, effective and person-centred care.

Assurance and improvement

There is not one single step to achieving higher quality care. It’s about balancing different dimensions and actions that help to make improvements.

We’ll provide independent assurance of the quality and safety of care provided in the health and care system in Scotland, and we’ll review how health and care services are improving outcomes for people and reducing inequalities in their care. With partner organisations, we will consider how services are working together within an integrated system, as well as how the system is performing as a whole.

We will provide national leadership and play our part in creating a National Care Service; one that ensures everyone receives the same standard of care wherever they live and empowers people to thrive.

By having a range of responsibilities for improvement we can make the most appropriate choices about how to tackle the problems or challenges that confront those who provide or require care, striking an appropriate balance between both supporting improvements on the care front line and in making the necessary larger scale changes across Scotland.

The need to adapt

We believe it is important that we continue to reflect on progress over the coming months and years, and adapt our strategic approach as required to ensure we continue to address the quality challenges in the system and are maximising our impact.

Over the next five years we will make a demonstrable and measurable contribution to meet these challenges by focusing on safety, quality and access to care which is equitable and person-centred.

We can ensure that we are able to adapt appropriately by reaching out to you and by continuing to engage and to listen to your opinions. We look forward to hearing your opinion and continuing to work with you all to take the bold and confident steps that will ensure our health and care services both recover and transform to meet the needs of us all.

We welcome all views on our draft plan: Leading quality health and care for Scotland: Our strategy 2022-27

You can take part in an online survey: Leading quality health and care for Scotland: Our strategy 2022-27