Realistic medicine central to health board reform programme


Realistic medicine should be a key part of NHS Tayside’s reform programme to save money and improve services, Grant Archibald, the board’s chief executive, has said.


“Realistic medicine has huge potential for us to do things differently in Tayside and put us at the vanguard of exciting change,” he told delegates at a Dundee conference exploring what the new way of practising medicine means for the health board.


Put forward by Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, realistic medicine puts the person receiving healthcare at the centre of decisions about their care.


Health and care workers are encouraged to find out what matters to the person so that their care matches their needs.


The gathering, held earlier this week, was attended by healthcare workers, patients and members of the public looking at the challenges and opportunities the realistic medicine agenda presents.


Issues considered included shared decision making in prescribing, managing the risk of complaint when practicing realistic medicine, effective engagement with patients, carers and the public, and supporting individuals as the end of life draws near.


Dr Shobhan Thakore, who leads on realistic medicine at the health board, added: “The delivery of care has become more and more complex in recent years as people live longer and advances in medicine lead to more treatments being offered.


“Many people now take multiple medicines and are offered various procedures so we need to be careful that they want these, understand what the benefit might be and most importantly appreciate the complication that might occur.


“Clinical staff and the public need to have more open conversations and time needs to be provided to let this happen. Properly sharing and agreeing decisions about treatment should lead to better care, less wastage and less harm.


“There needs to be a wider conversation about Realistic Medicine in Tayside and this conference was a very important first step in bringing this subject out to a wider audience.  Many inspiring speakers gave examples of why we need to change our style of care and there were also many examples of really dedicated staff and public partners beginning to make this change.


“The aim is to build on this enthusiasm and take forward more projects to help us realise the aim of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland as described in Realistic Medicine.”


Pictured above conference speakers: Gregor Smith, Shobhan Thakore, Patient and Public Forum for Medicines representative Fran Benison, lead clinical pharmacist Arlene Coulson, ENT surgeon Rod Mountain, speciality trainee and Scottish Leadership Fellow Kate Arrow, Breast Buddies co-ordinator Hannah Dalgety and medical student Sophie Corbett.


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