In this strategy we have underlined our support for a new vision of community hospitals as an essential part of the implementation of Delivering for Health. The future role of the new style community hospitals, as presented in this strategy, is geared to providing services and functions necessary in today's modern Scotland. The extended primary care role of the community hospital should be well-suited to all parts of Scotland, not just rural areas where the existing facilities have developed.
We are committed to continuing and developing the future role of the community hospital, and we expect NHS Boards to develop strategic plans for their development and to build on the excellent services already being provided. We are clear that many community hospitals already provide patient-centred care in many areas, but it is possible that plans may lead to a rationalisation of existing community hospital services where there is a more effective and appropriate pattern of provision. What the strategy highlights is that there is very real potential for the development of new and additional community healthcare resources to fulfil this role in urban and semi-urban areas as well as in the remote and rural settings.
The new community hospital must be at the forefront of NHS Board planning to shift the balance of care into the community. Plans should be developed through Community Health Partnerships in an integrated way with local communities and agencies such as local authorities and the voluntary sector. Planned in this way we should expect to see a generation of new and revitalised community hospitals providing excellent patient-focused care within a locally based setting. This is the vision of the new community hospitals in Scotland.