Sturgeon thanks health service for successful 2011

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has written to NHS staff commending their hard work in delivering a successful 2011.

In her New Year message to Scotland's health workers, Ms Sturgeon reflected on dedication of NHS employees and highlighted their involvement in the year’s key achievements.

She said: “I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone in the NHS for their continued hard work and commitment during the year.

“As we look back over 2011, we can reflect on a year where the health service has continued to make a difference to the people of Scotland through work to improve the health of the nation and the quality of our health services.

“NHS Staff have made impressive improvements in waiting times for access to high quality healthcare services and treatments.

"They have also made important progress on issues as varied as access to GPs and dentistry, support for people with long term conditions, outcomes for cancer, stroke and heart disease.

"They are achieving improved outcomes for people reducing the need for hospitalisation, shorter stays, faster recovery and longer life expectancy.

"They have a world leading patient safety programme which is making a real difference to standards of care and to hospital mortality. All of these achievements are a direct result of the drive and commitment shown by people working for our NHS.

“During the year, as I have visited NHS Boards across Scotland, I have witnessed the hard work, determination and commitment that is shown day in day out that will help us to deal with these future challenges.

“I am conscious of the challenging times we live in. I also understand that this time of year often takes those who work in our NHS away from their family and friends.

"As the NHS continues to provide such excellent services over the festive period, I think I speak on behalf of everyone in Scotland when I express my appreciation for our health worker’s dedication.

“I wish everyone in Scotland a very happy Christmas and New Year.”