Issue 2: March 2012

CARE AND HEALTH EDITORIAL

By Professor Richard Kerley

We often use the words ‘health‘ and ‘care‘ in conjunction with each other and more often than not we use both in a very imprecise way.

As we age in population terms the relationship between health and care becomes a lot more complex and potentially badly fragmented in ways that do no good to the person concerned, cause distress and anguish to their families and are costly to society as a whole.

This themed section of the second issue of Scottish Policy Now discusses some of the changing demands this places on health services and the manner in which changes can be made for the benefit of both society and all of us - because we all will need that help eventually.

As we see in all periods of disruption and change, this is not a neat and tidy process and there are casualties. There are people who suffer because of poor system characteristics, people who suffer because of poor choices they or their families make and people who suffer because medical technologies and practices have not yet developed means to reduce their suffering.

Whether we realise it or not, the debate we are having on health and care in Scotland is just as complex - though not as heated - as the debate in England. Some of the contributions here in this themed section of SPN address just the kind of fundamental societal challenges that are being argued about at Westminster.

How we handle the care of older people, the balance between low intensity health provision and acute hospital facilities, the different ages at which we categorise people as ‘older’ and elderly; and the ‘passport age’ at which we all become entitled to various cash [e.g. pensions] and in kind [e.g. bus passes] benefits. All of these are issues that need to be discussed more widely and these contributions help that discussion.

There is a varied mix of services, facilities and provision that can make life better for those who are ‘ill‘ and those in need of ‘care’. It is just very obvious that we don’t have the mix right yet. We hope that these articles will support discussion about that and how we can change matters for the better.

By Professor Richard Kerley

Issue 2: March 2012

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