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 operating principles and approach

13. The statutory duties above set out the expectations of Scottish Ministers on HIS. HIS will deliver its functions independently of Ministers and will operate to the following principles:

  • HIS will review and inspect the quality of healthcare in any service both in the NHS and independent sector, based on intelligence and evidence and at a time and manner of its choosing; this applies to both one-off reviews and planned programmes of assurance.
  • HIS has access to all relevant information held nationally and locally about the quality of care and services, for the purposes of learning, enquiry and improvement. If the information is withheld HIS has the right to request access to the information.
  • HIS will inform SG of investigations it decides to undertake and will operate independently, with the required mix of skills.
  • When responding to a request from Scottish Ministers, HIS will engage with the service providers to fully understand the issues involved and will decide which of its functions to use, alone or in combination, to most effectively support improvement.
  • HIS may publicly escalate serious concerns about a service to Scottish Government in accordance with our agreed escalation process (annex 5).
  • HIS may disseminate information as it deems appropriate and provide advice to Scottish Ministers at any time.
  • HIS will respond to requests by the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee for evidence on the quality of healthcare in any service.
  • HIS will carry out its activities transparently, including wherever possible publishing the sources of intelligence that are used to inform its work.



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