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Dissolution of NHS Trusts


Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm has signed the Order winding up the 16 remaining Trusts. Their responsibilities will now transfer to NHS Boards.

Mr Chisholm said:

"The dissolution of Trusts fulfils a key commitment in the White Paper, Partnership for Care, published over a year ago. Our proposals, now in the NHS Reform Bill to remove NHS Trusts from the statute book altogether have received broad support.

"The winding up of the Trusts formally signals the end of the old approach that saw duplication and competition instead of streamlined, collaborative structures. Of course the NHS in Scotland has been moving steadily in this direction for the last 7 years. Today is the last stage in that journey.

"Dumfries and Galloway and Borders led the way in abolishing their Trusts a year ago, and Argyll and Clyde and Fife soon followed suit. In addition, Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust became part of NHS Lothian very recently. The new, widely-welcomed, integrated approach offers clear benefits for patients.

"Today marks the day that all NHS Trusts in Scotland cease to exist as legal entities. All NHS areas will now move to single system working, ending confusion over who does what in the NHS.

"Another of the key provisions of the NHS Reform Bill is to introduce Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) at local level. Designed to give patients and staff a greater say in how their health services are delivered, they will be responsible for key aspects of planning and delivering community health provision, such as GP services, pharmacy and community nursing.

"CHPs will ensure that the move to single-system working does not result in centralisation, but continues the delegation of resources and authority to front-line staff.

"These provisions, along with others contained in the Bill, will pave the way for further improvements across the NHS for the benefit of all patients."

The NHS Reform Bill was published 27 June 2003. Briefing notes on the Bill can be found at or

Mr Chisholm signed the NHS Trust Dissolution Order in March dissolving all remaining NHS Trusts in Scotland with effect from 1 April 2004. The order has already been laid before Parliament.

Transfer Orders, to transfer rights, assets and liabilities from Trusts to NHS Boards - or in the case of heritable property, to Scottish Ministers - have been drafted and signed. They will come into effect today.