Posted by: ayrshirehealth | January 14, 2015

Being Cabinet Secretary by @shonarobison

A momentous year

2015 is here. A new year always brings fresh hope and renewed determination. Commonwealth Games LogoAlthough first I want to pause and look back on the year that Scotland took centre stage.

2014 was a momentous year for this country. ReferendumThe referendum, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup – all of these events showed the rest of the world what Scots can achieve when we work together. Ryder Cup

Whether it’s informed and engaged political debate, or hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar, I believe all of us can look back on last year and be proud.

Outstanding commitment

NHS Scotland logoIt was also a big year for Scotland’s NHS. Both at the beginning and at the end of the year, our health service was called upon in the most tragic of circumstances with the Clutha incident and the recent bin lorry crash in Glasgow’s city centre. Every time, the men and women of Scotland’s NHS demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication to those patients involved, while the rest of the world looked on.

screen-capture-28Having only recently become the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, I was immensely proud and in awe of how all our emergency and NHS services responded to these incidents. This calm and collected response, under what could have only have been unimaginable pressure, was again demonstrated only a few short weeks ago when the first Ebola case diagnosed in the UK was in Scotland.

But these high-profile events should not overshadow the other achievements in patient care delivered day in and day out by all of our NHS staff across the country.

Working tirelessly

NHS Scotland UniformEvery day, within the NHS in Scotland we have domestic staff working tirelessly to keep our hospitals clean, portering and maintenance staff who keep things working in the background, and frontline practitioners providing compassionate care. I am very grateful to all staff who work together to make our NHS what it is.

Particularly as we have continued to maintain performance in the face of unprecedented demand. 2014 saw record levels of attendances at A&E and I know there are still significant issues with ensuring people are discharged in a timely manner from hospital.

Vale of LevenNovember saw the publication of the much-anticipated report from the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry. The Inquiry Chairman made 75 recommendations all of which I have accepted and it will be incumbent on all of us to ensure the lessons are learned  so that a tragedy like this is prevented from happening again.

In saying that, many improvements to safety and quality of care have already been made within our hospitals. Our internationally-acclaimed Scottish Patient Safety Programme is transforming care, reducing mortality rates by nearly 16 per cent.

Person centred, safe and effective

Last year saw the lowest levels of C.diff and MRSA in hospitals and healthcare settings on record and our NHS now responds to infections in a faster, more effective and more visible way. Going forward, we have a big opportunity to transform whole patient pathways even further, so that we can achieve our ambitions in the route map to the 20:20 vision and public service reform programme – person centred, safe and effective care at home or in a homely setting.

As the new year dawns, I have a renewed focus to address many of these challenges in 2015. When I became Cabinet Secretary, I made delayed discharge one of my top priorities and this will continue to be high up the agenda in the year ahead.

IntegrationWe are integrating health and social care to ensure people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time, which should address challenges like delays in the system. The new integrated partnerships will be in place from April.

This landmark change to the way health and social care is delivered will be one of the key highlights of 2015. Southern General GlasgowAnother significant development will be the opening of the new South Glasgow University Hospital, which is anticipated to be fully open in the summer.

This hospital campus will be one of the largest acute hospitals in the UK and home to major specialist services such as renal medicine, transplantation and vascular surgery.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventative measures to improve the nation’s health will also be a high priority for the coming year. We will be introducing a bill to the Scottish Parliament which looks at further regulation for e-cigarettes. Pregnancy - smoking - alcohol

Later this year, we are also expecting the preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice on our policy of minimum pricing for alcohol which, if given the go-ahead back in the Scottish Court, would make a transformative difference to the health of our most vulnerable in society.

Making a difference

So there is much to look forward to in 2015 and, of course, a lot of hard work ahead to address the challenges being faced by the NHS. I look forward to working with all the staff across our national health service to make a real difference to the care of patients in Scotland. I wish you all a very healthy and happy New Year!

This week’s blog was by @shonarobison (Shona Robison), Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport in the Scottish Government.


  1. Shona iI see that mortality rates have been reduced by nearly 16 percent,could you please tell me if that includes patients that leave hospital and then die at home of the illness that they were in hospital with.

  2. forgot to mention CONGRATULATIONS on attaining you new post in our government.

  3. […] Being Cabinet Secretary by Shona Robison on the Ayrshirehealth blog. […]

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