UK Health Literacy Conference 2016 blog

Posted by Liz Sadler on 21-03-2016
UK Health Literacy Conference 2016 blog

When Maureen Watt MSP, the Minister for Public Health, sadly couldn’t join us at the Health Literacy Conference at the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel in Clydebank, last week, I was delighted to step into the breach.

Health literacy is a key strand of our work on person-centred care for which I have overall responsibility. Fortunately, my colleagues Graham Kramer and Blythe Robertson, who lead on health literacy policy, had written a good speech that I was happy to deliver.

We know that inadequate health literacy creates huge challenges for people trying to access health and care, collaborate with professionals, and manage their own wellbeing or those they care for.

We're committed to making Scotland a health literate society where we all have the knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills to live well on our own terms with any health conditions we may have. In 2014, we enshrined this ambition in the world-leading “Making it Easy” action plan.

The recently published National Clinical Strategy and Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report both highlighted the need to more effectively respond to people’s health literacy needs to deliver person-centred care.

The conference provided a showcase for some outstanding emerging practice. I was particularly impressed by the work I heard about that’s going on across Scotland, with links to much of it available on this excellent resource, The Health Literacy Place. And there was also much to learn from our colleagues across the UK, and our international visitors, most notably from Australia with the exciting Ophelia approach, which is gaining increasing currency closer to home.

Responding to people's health literacy needs is an exciting new frontier. It has the potential to drive improvements in person-centred care, and it can also make care safer and more effective.

We're now on a pioneering implementation journey to respond to the health literacy needs of our population. This energising day gives fresh impetus to work and illustrates what can be done by co-ordinating our efforts through a collective purpose to develop things of real value.

I look forward to building upon the outputs from the event to accelerate towards our ambition to make Scotland a more health literate society.



Deputy Director, Healthcare Planning and Quality Division

Written by Liz Sadler

Deputy Director, Healthcare Planning and Quality Division

Scottish Government