A whole system approach involves applying systems thinking, methods and practice to better understand public health challenges and identify collective actions. Adopting a whole system approach to Scotland’s Public Health Priorities is a long-term endeavour. It will require new partnerships between a broad-range of stakeholders to deliver better lives for the people of Scotland.

All stakeholders have an important role to play in the successful delivery of the public health priorities using a whole system approach. Relevant organisations will vary depending on the priority but will include:

  • Academia
  • Community Planning
  • Health and Social Care
  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • NHS
  • Private Sector
  • Third Sector

There are three phases that can help stakeholders adopt a whole system approach:

  1. Collectively form an understanding of the issue, context and wider system
  2. Create a plan for action collaboratively with a wide set of stakeholders. Actions should be aligned and jointly prioritised
  3. Learn and refine as you go by involving stakeholders and embedding monitoring and evalation. Considering the "so what?" and "now what?"

Adapted from FSG Systems Thinking Toolkit. Putting systems thinking into practice in your organization and Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (2018) Systems Change Framework.

Last updated: 06 October 2022
Was this page helpful?