EXPERTS have urged health services across the UK to learn lessons from Scotland’s NHS, though they warn that “serious” financial pressures could jeopardise its “unique system for improving the quality of healthcare.”
A report by the Nuffield Trust think tank found that NHS Scotland provides “possible alternatives for an English system with a tendency towards too many short-term, top-down initiatives that often fail to reach the front line.”
Entitled Learning from Scotland’s NHS, the report praises Scotland’s “pioneering initiatives” such as video links for outpatient care in remote areas as well as trusting clinical staff to drive improvements in care and testing new methods in small-scale projects before rolling them out across the service.
It also highlighted areas that other NHS bodies could draw lessons from, such as health and social care integration, reducing stillbirths and tackling health inequality.
Lead author Mark Dayan said Scotland’s “well-thought-through system of improving patient safety and quality of care works by engaging front-line staff in the process.”
He urged health boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to consider importing the initiatives.
However, Mr Dayan also warned that the “the dark cloud on the horizon threatening these strengths is potentially serious financial problems” as under-pressure Scottish health boards will need to make cuts of around 4.3 per cent in the next financial year, higher than in England and Wales.
Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said that she was “proud” of the achievements of NHS Scotland’s staff.”
However, Labour called on Ms Robison “keep her promise” and end the threat to a children’s ward at the Royal Alexander Hospital (RAH) in Paisley, which she will visit today.
Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “Thousands of families have opposed the downgrade of the RAH and the SNP government should stop ignoring them and start listening.”