Putting people at the core of NHS care services

In the next ten years, the number of people aged over 75 is expected to increase by more than 25 per cent. That is an amazing shift in the demographics of our society.

Dr Dame Denise Coia , Chair, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

It is also expected that, in the same time frame, two thirds of people will have developed a long-term condition by the age of 65.

Although it is very encouraging to know that people in Scotland are, in general, living longer, healthier lives, it’s also clear that almost all of us will need to use health and social care services at some point in our lives. Moreover, most of us are likely to have at least one family member using a care service at any given time. So the standards of care you and your loved ones receive are incredibly important to everyone.

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It is also central to the work of both our organisations, the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, because we work on behalf of people in Scotland to support the delivery of the best possible care across the country.

We have been working with the Scottish Government – and a broad spectrum of public, private and third sector organisations – to create new health and social care standards that help deliver services which have the needs of people at their core.

We have developed an approach in Scotland which we believe is genuinely innovative, and we are very keen to get feedback from the public that this approach works for them. We have taken a “human rights based approach” to the development of the standards – something we are not aware has been done previously. The approach focuses on empowering people to know and claim their rights when accessing care and giving people greater opportunities to participate in shaping the decisions that impact on them.

To illustrate how this approach works, almost every standard starts from the perspective of the person receiving care and begins with the word “I”. It might seem a small thing, but putting people first – quite literally – is the starting point in delivering better care.

For example, the standards include: I experience high quality care and support that is right for me; I am at the heart of decisions about my care and support; I am confident in the people who support and care for me; and I am confident in the organisation providing my care and support.

We believe that this approach is a significant development for people in Scotland. The standards will help us all understand what care and support should actually look and feel like for people every time they use health and social care services.

This approach will also help people who provide and work in services to understand what standards of care they are expected to deliver, as well as organisations planning and commissioning services.

Public consultation has been at the centre of the development of the standards form the beginning. And it is crucial that the public and people using services have a say, alongside providers, organisations and other agencies and groups, across the public, private and the voluntary sector.

The public consultation on the draft standards is now live and will run until 22 January 2017.

We would encourage everyone to share your views, and those of your families and friends too.

Dr Dame Denise Coia, Chair, Healthcare Improvement Scotland; Paul Edie, Chair, Care Inspectorate, Find out more at www.newcarestandards.scot/