Health and social care in Scotland

Macmillan supports you to plan across the cancer pathway, to deliver improved cancer outcomes and experiences.

NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland has 14 geographical health boards. They are funded directly by the Scottish Government to plan and deliver cancer services for their local populations. Spending plans for the NHS are set out annually in the Budget (Scotland) Bill.

Service planning is informed and directed by an infrastructure of national and regional planning groups made up of the CEOs of the health boards. Some cancer services are delivered via one of Scotland’s five regional cancer centres, funded by one or more health board.

Regional Cancer Advisory Groups

Sitting below the NHS regional planning groups are three Regional Cancer Advisory Groups. They have no formal authority over NHS boards but bring them together to agree standard approaches where appropriate and in some instances to monitor them against national targets such as waiting times. Each Advisory Group is supported by a Managed Clinical Network of tumour specific and topical groups.

Health and Social Care Partnerships

From April 2015, all community health and adult social care services (plus some acute services) are planned and commissioned by Scotland’s 31 Health and Social Care Partnerships.

Responsible for integrating these services locally, Partnerships adjoin Scottish local authority areas* and each is governed by a joint board with members from the local authority and health board, plus clinicians, service users and the third sector.

The health board and local authority devolve all budget associated with the delegated services to the Partnership, and it in turn is accountable to them for delivering against national outcomes and local indicators. Services covered include inpatient geriatrics, emergency admissions, primary care, all palliative care and adult social care.

*Stirling and Clackmannanshire have created one partnership to cover both local authority areas.

Special health boards

Scotland has seven special health boards and one public health body which deliver national functions and services. NHS Health Scotland promotes ways of improving the health and reducing health inequalities among the population by promoting healthier lifestyles to reduce risk of cancer for example. Healthcare Improvement Scotland is responsible for developing evidence-based standards and scrutinising services to provide public assurance about the quality and safety of healthcare.

Local authorities

While adult social care services must be delegated to Health and Social Care Partnerships, local authorities remain responsible for children’s services and other services which impact on health in Scotland such as housing and education. They may choose to delegate some services, for example children’s social care, to the Partnerships (and many have done so), but it is not a legal requirement.