The Scottish Government has published its NHS Recovery Plan, committing more than £1 billion of targeted investment for the recovery and renewal of Scotland’s health service.
It sets out key actions for the next five years to help address backlogs in healthcare and increase capacity by at least 10%.
The Plan, which the Government committed to publish within its first 100 days, outlines a range of reforms across primary and acute NHS services to help recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
A key aim in primary care is to restore face-to-face GP consultations as quickly and safely as possible, while ensuring everyone can continue to make use of eHealth services like NHS Near Me, if that is their preference. We are also bolstering the NHS Pharmacy First scheme to enhance the range of services patients can access from community pharmacists without having to go to their GP.
In acute care we are increasing capacity for inpatients, day cases, outpatients and diagnostics. Prior to the pandemic, Scotland’s NHS carried out approximately 270,000 inpatient/day cases per year, and approximately 1.4 million outpatient appointments. Through this Plan we will work to increase NHS capacity substantially beyond these levels.
A priority within the Plan is to focus on the health and wellbeing of NHS staff who have given so much, particularly during the pandemic.
- increasing investment in National Treatment Centres (NTCs) to more than £400 million, contributing to delivery of over 40,000 additional elective surgeries and procedures per year
- raising primary care investment by 25%, supporting GPs, community pharmacists, dentists and optometrists
- investing £29 million to target diagnostic backlogs, providing 78,000 additional procedures in 2021/22 rising to 90,000 per year from 2025/26
- providing £8 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of the health and care workforce
- investing £11 million in new national and international recruitment campaigns to produce an additional 1,500 staff over the next five years for our NTCs, 1,000 mental health link workers in communities, 800 more GPs, and boosting paramedic numbers through the £10,000 Paramedic Bursary.
- delivering £23 million to redesign urgent care – with rapid access to a senior clinician via a telephone or video consultation where possible, reducing the pressure on A&E
- devoting £130 million to deliver our National Cancer Plan and Detect Cancer Early Programme
- ensuring at least 10% of frontline health spending will be dedicated to mental health, and recruiting 320 additional Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) workers
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was joined by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to launch the NHS Recovery Plan during a visit to the new national Centre for Sustainable Delivery (CfSD) which will play a key role in supporting improvements in outpatient and inpatient capacity as well as diagnostics.
She said: “This Plan will drive the recovery of our NHS, not just to its pre-pandemic level but beyond.
“As we maintain our resilience against COVID-19 and other pressures, the Scottish Government is providing targeted investment to increase capacity, reform the system and ultimately get everyone the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
“Tackling the backlog of care is essential and will be a priority. But we want to go further than that and deliver an NHS that is innovative, sustainable and stronger than ever before.”