Service Change

NHS Boards have a Link opens in a new windowstatutory duty to involve people in designing, developing and delivering healthcare services. This can include involvement in reviewing existing services and planning new services, or it may be consulting people on changes to the way in which services are delivered.

Our Service Change Team can offer advice and support to NHS Boards on ways to improve their engagement process when considering changing a service. 

What do we do?

  • Our team provides advice to NHS Boards (including Special Health Boards such as the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24) across Scotland. We are a small team providing a consistent source of information and advice on how to improve public involvement in service change.
  • When a service change is deemed a major service change by the Scottish Government the NHS Boards are required to conduct formal consultation and we quality assure this process.
  • Our quality assurance approach uses the following principles to assess the NHS Board's major service change activity:

- Engagement is carried out with people at the outset

- Engagement is inclusive

- Engagement is proportionate

- Engagement is robust

  • The team produces an independent Link opens in a new windowassessment report that advises if the Board's consultation and engagement has met national standards.
  • Our quality assurance approach is supported by a sub-group of the Scottish Health Council Committee and the team's practice is supported by Healthcare Improvement Scotland's public partners.
  • Our report is shared with the NHS Board to inform their decision making and is also published on our website.

Requirements on NHS Boards

Guidance from the Scottish Government sets out how NHS Boards should Link opens in a new windowinform, engage, and consult their local communities about proposed service changes (CEL (2010) 04). This is particularly important when a proposed service change will have a major impact; in such cases a full public consultation process will be required and the final decision on the way forward will be subject to Ministerial approval.

Guidance for NHS Boards

We have produced guidance for the NHS to support the involvement and effective engagement of patients, carers and in the public in planning and development of health and community care services:

Our Service Change Team can provide advice on using this guidance, which is intended to help Boards to stimulate discussion amongst key stakeholders in order to establish whether there is a consensus view.