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Making health services "fit for the future"

Published: 10 Feb 2016 00:01

First Minister to make keynote speech on health reform

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make a major speech this morning (Wednesday, February 10) on the future of health and care services in Scotland.

In a speech to nursing and healthcare students at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, the First Minister will set out the key challenges facing health and care services in the future and the Scottish Government's plans to make health services "fit for the future".

She will also confirm plans to support a more sustainable healthcare workforce by increasing the number of students in Scotland's medical schools, widening access to medical education and maximising the future contribution of the nursing profession.

The First Minister will say:

"There is no doubt in my mind that this - the second decade of the 21st century - is a pivotal moment for health care and healthcare systems, not just in Scotland but around the world.

"An ageing population, a shift to more multidisciplinary working and rapid advances in research and technology - to cite just some of the trends we see - present challenges and opportunities that the founders of the NHS could scarcely have imagined.

"It is the decisions we take today - on research, on the organisation of our NHS, on the relationship between and investments in social, community, primary and secondary care, and on the education and training of the health and social care workforce of the future - that will determine how well our health service responds to these challenges and opportunities.

"As First Minister, I am determined that we take the decisions - including the tough decisions - that will ensure that our health and care services are fit for the future."

The First Minister will also describe why the integration of health and care services is so important and how, as the population changes healthcare, where possible should be delivered at home.

"For all the complexity involved in delivering modern health and care services, the basic argument I'm going to make is actually a very simple one. It's this - care should always be delivered as locally as possible. In fact, when possible, it should be delivered at home. That's not a new idea, but it is even more important now than it has been in previous decades. As more people live for longer, we need to support them to live as independently and healthily as possible.

"And so I want to talk about some of the fundamental changes and reforms that we're making to health and care services which will help us to achieve that aim."

The First Minister will continue:

"My belief is that the reforms we are implementing across our health and care services will benefit everyone in Scotland. They will build on the success of our current healthcare system, and ensure that services are delivered as locally as possible and in a way which meets people's needs - as individuals. If we succeed, we will reduce inequality and we will improve health and wellbeing, and the experience of healthcare, for everyone."