Hospital Dr News

‘Radical action’ needed to deliver an NHS fit for the future in Scotland

The NHS in Scotland must be prepared to take risks, and be more innovative when tackling challenges and planning for the future.

This the conclusion of a joint report by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Good Governance Institute which sets out five radical recommendations for the future of healthcare in Scotland.

The report calls for:

  • Stronger health and social care integration with joint financial arrangements.
  • A new political agreement to “de-politicise” integrated healthcare.
  • Creating a public platform for more active public engagement focusing on the true cost of healthcare and the public’s essential role in the future design of health and social care.
  • Shifting the balance of care, informed by policy based on evidence, with a series of clear, collective outcomes underpinned by strong governance structures.
  • Introduce new technologies with evidence-based implementation approaches, better supported and managed nationally.

The report, entitled the Future for the NHS in Scotland, follows a debate which took place last year at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, which brought together health professionals and non-medical experts from a wide range of organisations, including Professor Derek Bell, President of the College.

Representatives from NHS Tayside, NHS Lothian, Audit Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates, and the Good Governance Institute were also in attendance, as well as Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat Leader of the House of Lords.

The experts agreed that healthcare in Scotland is facing some significant challenges, and that there is an urgent requirement for radical action.

Professor Derek Bell OBE, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said: “The Future for the NHS in Scotland debate marked the beginning of a conversation about the steps required to enable change, so that progress can be made in Scotland’s health system.

“We think that attention must be given to the importance of governance as a means to deliver step change. Governance accountability is an area where more progress can be made, and the College wants to see this shared better across health and social care.”

Dr Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Chief Executive of the Good Governance Institute, advocated the introduction of Integrated Joint Boards to improve governance structures.

He added: “There are a variety of other possibilities for improving healthcare delivery in Scotland, and the NHS in Scotland must put measures in places to keep pace with advances in digital healthcare, population health, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics.

“Digital technologies should be used to innovate more effectively, and crucially, the NHS in Scotland must secure better value from investments in its digital programmes.”

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