About NHS Scotland Today

NHSScotland currently employs approximately 164,000[i] staff who work across 14 territorial NHS Boards, seven national NHS Boards and one public health body.

NHS Boards are accountable to Scottish Ministers, supported by the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing has ministerial responsibility in the Scottish Cabinet for the NHS in Scotland.

Each territorial NHS Board is responsible for the protection and the improvement of their population’s health and for the delivery of frontline healthcare services. National NHS Boards support the territorial NHS Boards by providing a range of important specialist and national services.

NHS Boards work collectively for the benefit of the people of Scotland. They work closely with their partners, including patients, staff, local authorities and the voluntary sector to deliver effective healthcare services and to safeguard and improve the health in line with the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework. The Scottish Government sets the national objectives and priorities for the NHS, agrees delivery plans with each NHS Board, monitors performance, and supports Boards to ensure they achieve these key objectives.

The Scottish Government decides what resources are to be devolved to the NHS in Scotland, in the context of devolved public expenditure. Health remains the single biggest area of government spending, at £13.4 billion in 2018/19[ii]. This was 42 per cent of the 2018/19 Scottish Government budget and is growing.

Since 2016, work has been underway across Scotland to integrate health and social care services in line with the requirements of the Public Bodies (Joint Working)(Scotland) Act 2014. By integrating the planning and provision of care, partners in the public, third and independent sectors are improving people’s experience of care along with its quality and sustainability.

Integrated health and social care is in place so that we can ensure people have access to the services and support they need; making their experience seamless and of a high standard. All NHSScotland Boards are working closely with Integrated Joint Boards reforming the way health and social care is planned and delivered in Scotland.


[i] Source: Audit Scotland using ISD workforce data and Scottish Government consolidated accounts, 2019 - 164,114 headcount , 140,881 full-time equivalent – March 2019. 

[ii] Source: Audit Scotland using ISD workforce data and Scottish Government consolidated accounts, 2019