Shaping The Future – New Healthcare Strategy Unveiled

More care delivered closer to home, fewer hospital admissions, quicker access to services delivered by a wider range of healthcare staff and better planned, more co-ordinated care for vulnerable patients with complex needs – that’s the Vision set out in NHS Forth Valley’s new Healthcare Strategy.

‘Shaping the Future’ – sets out ten key priorities which will shape the way local health services are designed and delivered across Forth Valley over the next five years.

The Strategy was developed following a major review of healthcare services across Forth Valley which was carried out over the last 18 months. The Clinical Services Review looked at eight key areas including cancer care, emergency and out-of-hours services, mental health and learning disability services, care for older people and end-of-life care, planned care, long term health conditions, women and children’s services, clinical support services and infrastructure.

Each area was led by a senior clinician who worked closely with local staff to look at how local services should be provided in the future and review best practice across the UK and beyond. They also took account of key strategies and plans including the Strategic Plans developed by the two local Health and Social Care Partnerships in Forth Valley and the National Clinical Strategy for Scotland.

During the Review, a wide range of engagement events were organised to capture feedback from local people and meetings took place with patient groups, voluntary organisations and community groups across Forth Valley.  Hundreds of staff and service users also fed back ideas and suggestions via a short online questionnaire.

This extensive programme of engagement helped identify several key themes and priorities which are reflected in the new Strategy. Detailed work was also carried out to consider predicted changes in the size and age of the local population, estimate future demand and forecast local trends in the number of people likely to affected by common illnesses and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Jane Grant, Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the Clinical Services Review and took the time to feedback comments and suggestions. We have listened very carefully to what people have told us to ensure that our new Healthcare Strategy addresses the issues which matter most to local patients and their families.”

Dr Graham Foster NHS Forth Valley Director of Public Health and Strategic Planning, said: “The case for change is overwhelming as the local population in Forth Valley is set to grow over the next five years and people can look forward to living longer. While this is good news, it also means many more people will be living with conditions such as diabetes, dementia and heart disease which require ongoing support.”

“As a result, demand for health services is rising year-on-year and we are seeing increasing numbers of people attending our Emergency Department and being admitted to hospital for treatment. We therefore have to shift the focus of healthcare to prevent more people from becoming unwell and help those who do to manage their condition better at home with the support of a wider range of health and care staff.”

The new Healthcare Strategy also has a strong focus on prevention, reducing delays, planning ahead and helping people to take more responsibility for managing and improving their own health with the right information and support.

NHS Forth Valley Chief Executive Jane Grant added: “There is no doubt that that there are real challenges in keeping pace with rising demand and meeting the needs of an ageing population.  There are, however, also opportunities to do things differently, learn from what works in other parts of the country and ensure we make the best use of new technology, skills and resources.

“The creation of new Health and Social Care Partnerships, for example, will enable us to work more closely with local councils and the voluntary sector to provide more efficient, streamlined care, improve communication and reduce duplication.”

The Healthcare Strategy provides a clear direction of travel and an overarching framework which will guide the development and delivery of local health services across Forth Valley over the next five years. Work will now be undertaken to identify the short, medium and longer-term actions required to deliver the Healthcare Strategy and these will form part of more detailed implementation plans which will be developed over the next few months.