Self-management is at the heart of new health strategy
Ian Welsh welcomes the prominence of self-management in the government's new clinical health strategy
Setting out a broad direction of travel for the future of healthcare in Scotland, the Scottish Government’s new National Clinical Strategy proposes evolution in thinking about, and delivery of, healthcare rather than radical change.
It follows on from the 2010 publication of NHS Scotland’s Quality Strategy, a document which placed greater focus on safety, effectiveness and person centredness at the heart of our healthcare system. The Alliance welcomed this as a step change in delivery – and the move towards an approach which placed people, not process, at the centre of decision making.
In the meantime, our priority areas for action have developed accordingly. Working with government and many other partners from across sectors, we have developed and delivered initiatives such as the National Links Worker Programme, the Health and Social Care Academy and People Powered Health and Wellbeing which have all sought to ensure changes to the type of care we receive in a variety of settings – whilst being firmly rooted in the third sector benefiting from the knowledge and experience that entails.
People who are disabled, people who live with long-term conditions and unpaid carers are experts in the support that matters to them
The new strategy uses the right methodology, referring to prevention, collaboration, co-production and use of new technology throughout, and we particularly welcome the commitment to encouraging greater understanding of, and promotion, of self management. This has long been on the agenda for third sector organisations operating in health and social care and many innovative projects, often funded by our own Self Management Fund, have valuable learning, tools and experiences from which this type of initiative can be developed. In our view, this must focus directly on connecting people to local community assets that can support their health and wellbeing, particularly through developments in local primary care settings.
People who are disabled, people who live with long-term conditions and unpaid carers are experts in the support that matters to them and we welcome the issues identified in the strategy as strongly aligning to the views they have expressed to us since the Alliance was formed in 2006. This is, however, no time for complacency and the Scottish Government must see through its commitment to engage with people who use support and services around the proposals. We will be working closely with the government to support third sector leaders to have their say on the strategy and consider how we can work collectively to support implementation of the significant proposals it lays out, as equal partners in the process.
As with any strategy, the proof of change will come much further down the line, but supporting people who are disabled, people who live with long-term conditions and unpaid carers to enjoy their right to live well must be the ultimate goal.
Ian Welsh is chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland