Scottish NHS ‘must not get complacent’ over positive report

Scottish authorities ‘should not be complacent’, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), despite a report from the Nuffield Trust comparing the country’s NHS favourably over the rest of the UK.

Learning from Scotland’s NHS is a report put together by the trust to analyse what advantages Scotland holds over the other countries’ healthcare systems. Particular praise was given to the country’s methods of seeking improvement to quality and safety.

The Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP), introduced in 2008, was highlighted as ‘exemplary and the keystone of quality improvement’ for the way it directly involves clinicians and managers. It has recently expanded into mental health, primary care and maternity, bringing with it ‘highly specific’ interventions and targets for improvement.

Lead author Mark Dayan said: ‘Scotland’s well thought-through system of improving patient safety and quality of care works by engaging frontline staff in the process, and importantly the country has stuck with that approach rather than chopping and changing every couple of years.

‘The dark cloud on the horizon threatening these strengths is potentially serious financial problems. Scotland’s NHS has the same resource constraints as England and Wales, but doesn’t yet have a medium-term plan for dealing with them – and in a harsh political environment, open debate and difficult decisions can seem impossible.’

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