Scotland politics

Former chief medical officer to lead NHS targets review

Sir Harry Burns
Image caption Sir Harry Burns stepped down as chief medical officer in 2014

A former chief medical officer has been appointed to lead a review of the approach to targets in Scotland's NHS.

Sir Harry Burns is to chair the study, which will consult NHS staff and patients to ensure targets and performance indicators are producing the best results for patients.

An initial report and recommendations are expected in spring 2017.

Mr Burns, who stepped down as chief medical officer in 2014, said it was vital that staff felt "empowered".

The review of targets was announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison in June.

She said she was "delighted" to welcome Mr Burns to the job, adding: "We want to ensure we have a national measurement framework across the whole health and social care system.

"As I have said before, targets have an important place in our NHS and there are certain standards, such as those in emergency care and cancer, which patients have the right to expect.

"We need to ensure that we also understand how our caring services are performing in a way that takes account of people's experience of different kinds of care, and the extent to which their care is well joined-up."

'Engaging positively'

Sir Harry stepped down as Scotland's top doctor after nine years in the job to focus on fighting health inequalities, taking up a post as professor of global public health at Strathclyde University.

He said: "Ministers are rightly clear that health and social care services must deliver the best possible outcomes for Scotland's people.

"I believe also that health and social care staff want to provide effective and compassionate care to those they serve. It is vital that the information we gather allows those working in health and social care to feel empowered to improve outcomes.

"I am looking forward to engaging positively with people on this important review."

The Scottish government is also planning on reviewing the number, structure and roles of health boards, and wants GP practices to become more of a community service, involving teams of health professionals and others working together under the guidance of a GP.

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