Our vision for Scotland

In Public Health Scotland, we want to see a Scotland where everybody thrives.

We want to see:

  • life expectancy in Scotland start to improve again
  • the difference in life expectancy between the wealthiest and the poorest people getting smaller
Pyramid showing the elements of community wellbeing: employment, food, education, health and social care services, housing, water and sanitation

Yet people in Scotland die younger than in any other Western European country.

Those in our poorest areas die more than ten years before those in the wealthiest areas.

Poverty, poor-quality housing, low-paid work, unhealthy environments, poor access to services, and unstable jobs all affect people’s physical and mental health.

Faced with rising prices, tightening public sector budgets, and the prospect of economic recession, the outlook is challenging – but change is possible.

This plan sets out Public Health Scotland’s contribution from 2022 to 2025 to achieve a Scotland where everybody thrives.

Our contribution to Scotland’s health

At the heart of Scotland’s public health system, Public Health Scotland will lead and support action across Scotland to:

Prevent disease

Prevent people from getting diseases and improve life expectancy worldwide. There is still more we can do.

  • Public Health Scotland will lead Scotland’s vaccination programme to make sure fewer people – especially those in our poorest communities – die from COVID-19.
  • By implementing an infectious disease intelligence strategy, we will reduce the harm done by hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis.
  • Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will lead preparations for the next pandemic.

Prolong healthy life

Not all ill health can be prevented. Quickly getting people the highest quality care prolongs not only the length but the quality of their life.

As stewards of Scotland’s healthcare data, we provide vital insight into the performance of health and social care services – insight that drives performance and improvement.

By modelling today’s data, we can create a picture of tomorrow. This insight will equip service planners to match resources to the changing needs of people coming into health and social care.

We will work with partners to strengthen services so:

  • fewer people die each year from drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
  • fewer people die from cancer – including cancers that cannot be prevented
  • more people feel satisfied with the quality of the care services they receive

Promote health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing go far beyond hospitals. Creating a Scotland where everybody thrives means looking beyond the NHS to the building blocks of health and wellbeing.

In close collaboration with local and national partners we will use data and evidence towards:

  • reducing the number of children living in poverty
  • empowering local areas to address pressing local public health concerns
  • improve mental wellbeing by taking a public health approach
  • creating an economy that prioritises wellbeing and population health

Changing Public Health Scotland

As well as these specific contributions to Scotland’s health, there are things we will do across Public Health Scotland to deliver change for Scotland.

Figure 3: How Public Health Scotland will change for Scotland

Be the go-to source of public health data and intelligence

COVID-19 showed the importance of reliable public health data to decision making and maintaining public trust in leaders. We will continue to invest in and modernise how we collect, process, and share data.

Put reducing health inequalities at the heart of all we do

Public bodies can use their role as employers and purchasers of goods to influence health inequalities. We will help other public bodies to make the most of their role. We will also work to become exemplars.

Increase our collaboration with local partners to improve the health of communities

To create a Scotland where everybody thrives, we need to work across boundaries. We want to focus more of our resources on collaborating with local partners. So, we will create a Local Public Health Improvement Team (LPHiT) to work across the topics and domains of public health locally.

Support Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 so no-one is left behind

COVID-19 made a profound impact on Scotland’s health. The impact was uneven. People in our poorest areas were more likely to die than those in the wealthiest. We will work across the organisation to make sure we are making the most of every opportunity to support Scotland’s recovery.

Equip our people with the systems and structures to deliver for Scotland

We succeed through the talents of our people. They are our main resource and greatest asset.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic we will put in place the new structure and systems to enable them to deliver for Scotland.

The outlook is challenging, but in Public Health Scotland we are confident: together, we can create a Scotland where everybody thrives.

PHS will work with the NHS, Local Government, Community planning, academia, business, the third sector, health and social care and National Government

Download our Strategic plan 2022-2025

Last updated: 21 December 2022
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