Health literacy is about people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate health and social care systems.

Health literacy relates to written, spoken and visual information and sits within the Person Centred quality dimension of The Healthcare Quality Strategy for Scotland (Scottish Government, 2010). The Scottish Government produced 'Making it Easy: a national health literacy action plan for Scotland' in 2014 containing key actions for Scotland to be a health literate society. In addition to the four actions laid out in the action plan for Scottish Government and partners, the action plan aims to:

  • Highlight the hidden problem of low health literacy and the impact of low health literacy
  • Explain the links between low health literacy and poor health outcomes and widening health inequalities
  • Makes a call to action for all health and social care staff to address health literacy as a priority in efforts to improve health and reduce health inequalities
  • Sets out an ambition for everyone in Scotland to have the confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills we need to live well, with any health condition we have

To access the full version of the action plan please click here

In December 2016 the Scottish Government published a five year Health and Social Care Delivery Plan. Within this is a commitment to refresh the national health literacy action plan ‘to support everyone in Scotland to have the confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills we need to live well with any health condition we have’ (Scottish Government, 2016).

A leaflet has been created for health and social care staff to support them in understanding what health literacy is and what they can do. Please see the leaflet.
If you are interested in finding out more about health literacy visit the Health Literacy Place and add health literacy as a subject interest on your People Connect profile.

You may also be interested in becoming a health literacy supporter.

Health Literacy

  • Health Literacy in Scotland Making it Easy