The Scottish government have launched a new health literacy action plan that highlights the central importance of supporting people to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be active partners in their care, and the role of health services and practitioners in making this a reality.
Scotland’s 2020 Vision for Health and Social Care focuses on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management. Addressing health literacy is at the heart of this commitment to delivering a safe, effective and person-centred healthcare system.
Making it Easy, the National Health Literacy Action Plan for Scotland, has been developed with a national group, which has drawn on the expertise of front line practitioners, policy makers, academics and those with years of experience with NHS boards and the third sector; they in turn drew on the direct experience of those who have struggled to engage with health and care services.
The action plan:
- Highlights the hidden problem of low health literacy and the impact that this has on our ability to access, understand, engage and participate in our health and social care.
- Explains that low health literacy leads to poor health outcomes and widens health inequality.
- Calls for all involved in health and social care to systematically address health literacy as a priority in our efforts to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
- Sets out an ambition for all in Scotland to have the confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills we need to live well, with any health condition.
- Lays out the actions the Scottish Government and partners are taking to help health and social care services and practitioners collaborate and help realise this ambition.
It identifies the following key steps:
- Raising awareness and the capabilities of professionals to address health literacy.
- Promoting the development and spread of existing and new health literacy tools, innovations and technologies.
- Improving access to these useful enabling health literacy tools and resources.
- Enhancing health literacy at transitions of care, which are key learning and patient safety points in health and social care.
To accompany the action plan the Healthy Literary Place, an online national health literacy resource, has been created. It will
- Provide desktop access to examples of existing good practice, techniques and tools.
- Generate and disseminate practice-based evidence of emerging effective health literacy innovations, resources and technologies.
- Provide references and articles that expand on the themes of Making it Easy, including improving access, collaboration and support for self-management.
- Create access to a community of practice, providing support and connection between those engaged with health literacy developments.
More information can be found here.