RCN Scotland

Education & Societies

Audit Scotland

In response to the publication today of Audit Scotland’s report, Changing models of health and social care, RCN Scotland Director Theresa Fyffe said:

“This...echoes what we have been saying for many months: that the current pressures on our health and social care services are unsustainable and urgent change is needed in how we deliver these services if they are to be fit for the future.

“The whole system is creaking at the seams, with real-time budget cuts and increasing demand creating a perfect storm in health and social care services. And, as this report clearly shows, the transformational change which is needed to ensure services are sustainable is not happening nearly fast enough across the country.”

 “While the report highlights pockets of excellence, where new models of care are being introduced, these are generally locally driven and lessons are not being learnt or implemented across the country.”

The report also shows that the shift of resources into community services has stalled; hospitals continue to consume more than half of the available money and the focus on hospital waiting time targets is counterproductive to moving funding into the community.

Theresa comments:

“There’s been a lot of talk over the last few months about the future of targets and whether they are enhancing or getting in the way of better patient outcomes. As this report shows, if we keep on delivering care in the same way as we do now, we know demand will outstrip our ability to resource and to pay for services and staff’s ability to deliver them. We need to do things differently and that includes taking a long, hard look at the current target culture in the NHS. In our manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections, we’re calling on all parties to work together to agree a new approach to targets by the end of 2016, focusing on generations to come, rather than the current short-term goals. And, to kick-start that debate, we’ll be publishing our views on targets in June this year."

Theresa continues:

...we’re also calling for a government-led workforce and skills impact assessment to be carried out each time a new health and social care policy is proposed, so that we have the necessary long-term workforce planning across all health and care services. The need for this is amply demonstrated by the National Clinical Strategy, which is long on ideas, but very short on how it will be implemented and the investment in staff and resources which will be needed.”