Policy

Policy in practice

The relevance of healthcare policy to your day-to-day work has already been highlighted. This section helps you explore how this policy impacts on your day-to-day work, although it sometimes seems far removed from the care you provide. It is also important to think about the range of people you come across in your work, who may have healthcare needs beyond your speciality and the care your team provide.

Current health policy: The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland to practice

The NHS Scotland Healthcare Quality Strategy (2010) builds on the foundations of Better Health, Better Care (2007) and has three quality targets stating that all patients/clients have the right to receive healthcare that is safe, effective and person-centred. In achieving these quality ambitions their healthcare will:

  • take their needs into account
  • provide optimum benefit to account for patient's/client's  circumstances and preferences and patient's/client's  health and wellbeing
  • encourage patients to take part in decisions about their health and wellbeing and provides them with information and support to do so

Policy affects all stakeholders, staff, patients/client's, carers, educators, and link organisations. To find out what this means to you as an employee and how you play your part in helping your employer meet their targets read the NHS Scotland Healthcare Quality Strategy. You may want to focus on the executive summary or specific areas of interest (identified through the contents list).

Think about the work you do and how you ensure that it is safe, effective and person-centred:

  • Identify and note down the issues that are particularly relevant to your services or work setting. You may want to focus on NHS Scotland priorities e.g. dementia, mental health, learning disability
  • Discuss how these are being put into action in your service/work setting with your mentor.

Make a portfolio entry detailing the relevant information that you have found and your discussions with your mentor.

Current health policy: The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 targets

The overall aim of health and social care policy in Scotland is to improve health, and all recent policy developments and initiatives led to the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011.

This Act is set against the context of the Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHSScotland (2010) and aims to provide the highest quality healthcare services to the people in Scotland. The Act states that:

'People who provide NHS health care (such as doctors, nurses, dentists) must take into account a set of Healthcare Principles when providing services. The Principles are written in a schedule to the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011. These Principles cover patient focus, quality care and treatment, patient participation, communication.'

Using the information sheets about the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 in Little Things Make a Big Difference: Valuing People, identify and note down the aspects of these principles that are particularly relevant to your services or work setting and where you think there will be changes in response to the Act. Discuss how these are being put into action in your service/work setting with your mentor. You may want to focus on NHS Scotland priorities e.g. dementia, mental health, learning disability.

Relating health policy to practice

In partnership with your mentor, select three national policy documents from the Policy Documents of this sub-unit that are particularly relevant to your work setting or area of clinical practice.

Read the executive summary (or equivalent overview) of each of the documents you have selected and use the following questions a guidelines for identifying the aspects of these policies that are particularly important for you and your patients/clients or focus on patient/client groups you regularly encounter. Alternatively, choose a section that is of particular interest to you and consider the following:

  • what implications do these policies have on the care that you provide for your patients/clients?
  • what implications do these policies have on your role, and the role of the multi-professional team?
  • how have these policies been put into practice locally?
  • what evidence of these policies being implemented can you identify?

Discuss your findings with your mentor and remember to revisit this section during your rotation or throughout the Flying Start NHS® programme.

You should also spend some time exploring the full documents that are most relevant to your own learning needs and reading other executive summaries. You may want to focus on NHS Scotland priorities e.g. dementia, mental health, learning disability.

If you are an AHP, the national delivery plan for AHPs in Scotland, AHPs as agents of Change in Health and Social Care will help you to understand the current context.

Integrating health and social care

The integration of health and social care in Scotland is being based around the needs of individuals, carers and other family members.

Details of the proposals for the integration of adult health and social care can be found on The Scottish Government Integration of Adult Health and Social Care webpage. Review the public consultation events Scottish Government presentation.

Also find out what local information about the integration of health and social care is available.

Consider:

  • how you and your team currently  work in partnership with social care colleagues
  • how this may change in the future taking into account the information you have read

You may want to focus on a particular aspect of the presentation content.

Then critically reflect on how integration would impact on the patient/client group you provide care for, on service provision and on team members work. Discuss your reflections with mentor and record them for your portfolio

Add an alert to your Flying Start NHS® portfolio and /or make a date in your diary to revisit this activity to see how the impact of the integration of health and social care is progressing.