Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Scottish Government: operating framework

Sets out how we will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, including roles and responsibilities.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland Legislative Context

5. HIS was established in 2011 as a Health Body, constituted by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, as amended by Public Service Reform Scotland Act 2010 and the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Act 2014. While HIS is not a special health board, it may be grouped with NHS special health boards in terms of SG initiatives such as shared services.

6. HIS’ key statutory duties are as follows:

a. a general duty of furthering improvement in the quality of health care;

b. a duty to provide information to the public about the availability and quality of services provided under the health service;

c. when requested by Scottish Ministers, a duty to provide to Scottish Ministers advice about any matter relevant to the health service functions of HIS.

7. Specifically, HIS is to exercise the following functions of Scottish Ministers:

a. to support, ensure, and monitor the quality of healthcare provided or secured by the health service;

b. to support, ensure, and monitor the discharge of the duty on NHS boards to encourage public involvement (through the Scottish Health Council as described in Annex 3 Key Legislation);

c. to evaluate and provide advice to the health service on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new and existing health technologies including drugs.

8. HIS has the following statutory powers:

a. Powers of access and right of entry (for the purposes of inspection) in relation to the health service and independent healthcare services;

b. Power to direct a Health Board to close a ward to new admissions where there is a serious risk to the life, health, or wellbeing of persons;

c. Power to require documents in relation to the functions of the Death Certification Review Service;

d. Regulatory powers in relation to the independent healthcare sector;

e. To require Health Boards to give such assistance to HIS as it requires (e.g. to provide information) in relation to its functions under the Health and Care (Scotland) Staffing Act (2019).

9. HIS supports the delivery of the latest National Performance Framework and the latest SG strategies and plans. This is to be reflected in HIS’ latest strategic and operational plans and through its core purpose, which is ‘to drive the highest quality of health and care for all’.



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