New Healthcare Improvement Scotland website

The new standards and improvement body for the NHS and other health providers in Scotland has launched its website, replacing the former NHS QIS site.

The Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) site also links to other organisations which come under its umbrella: the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate; the Scottish Health Council, SIGN; the Scottish Medicines Consortium and the Scottish Patient Safety Network.

The programmes and projects which were being undertaken by the former NHS QIS continue as before, without interruption.

Health Informatics Scotland 2010 – Early Bird rates end soon.

Only two weeks to go before the end of the earlybird discount rates for Health Informatics Scotland 2010.

Conference Dates – 22nd and 23rd September 2010

Rates start as low as £30.00 for two days!

Our conference this year will be the biggest and brightest yet! We are staging this event at the prestigious Glasgow Science Centre where you not only have great views over the Clyde and City but complementary entrance to the fun science exhibits. The futuristic building mirrors BCS Health Scotland’s innovative and forward looking approach.

Three themes this year are Quality, Innovation, and Efficiency.  We have International speakers from Australia, Canada, Sweden, America, Ireland, Malaysia making this conference the place to be in September this year.

And introducing the NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!

This exciting new development will be the ‘NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!’.  These awards are given to winning NHS teams for three categories sponsored by BCS and Scottish Government; applications are closed so come along to see the winners!

Individual credit card bookings can be made online at

Block bookings can be made by phone and paid by cheque direct to BCS, sorry order/invoices not possible, contact Rachel Browning Specialist Groups Events Team Leader BCS The Chartered Institute for IT First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1FA  Tel : +44 (0) 1793 417 416

Visit the pre-conference connection map to see who is coming

Full conference details at

Holyrood committee raises concerns over financial management in the NHS in Scotland

28 June 2010

Stethoscope. Photograph: Deliormanli /  iStockphoto A Scottish Parliament report published today raises concerns that “fundamental weaknesses in NHS management” may be influencing decisions on spending, budgeting and staff resources.

The Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee has completed its review of NHS board revenue allocations for 2010-11 and has raised questions over how budgets have been managed.

Read the Committee’s report

Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP said: “More staff have seemingly been appointed without any comparable rise in productivity because of the way budgets have been managed in the past. This raises a number of questions, including what criteria are being used to approve new spending and what standard of evidence is expected to support a spending plan.

“The committee is concerned that mechanisms in place for holding NHS boards to account don’t adequately address efficiency within the service. We’re also concerned that reductions in budget growth, against a background of continuing rises in demand and inflationary pressures, will place the NHS under great strain.”

Other key findings of the report include:

• The need for NHS boards to inform and involve local stakeholders in increasingly contentious decisions about where savings can be achieved based on evidence they have gathered.

• A call for reassurance from NHS boards that savings can be made without damaging the quality of service.

BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010

BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010 NHS Scotland logo

Open for Registrations 22nd and 23rd September 2010

Register now for the most exciting eHealth conference in Scotland this year! Held at the prestigious Glasgow Science Centre you not only have a great programme, wide range of exhibitors, great views over the Clyde and City but complementary entrance to the fun science exhibits as well!

The futuristic building mirrors BCS Health Scotland’s Innovative and Modern outlook See Here

We have an extensive International speaker Programme over both days with three themes held in twin parallel tracks.

Keynote speakers include:

Matthew Swindells, former CIO Connecting for Health, and chair BCS Health

Rikard Lovstrom from Sweden to talk about their National Patient Overview project and eHealth strategy

Dorothy Whittick from Canada talking about the Canadian Health Infoway national developments and a Wellness project in Alberta

Brian Robson from Scotland on the Quality theme and his experiences with IHI in America.

Kathy Dallest from Australia speaking on Clinical Safety Management in eHealth.

New! NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!

An exciting new event will be presentation of the ‘NHS Scotland eHealth Awards!’. These awards are given to winning NHS teams for three categories sponsored by BCS and Scottish Government.

Twin Exhibitions: We are very grateful to our sponsors with 18 commercial exhibitions in a superb bright atrium area and ANOTHER FIRST: 15 public information stands in a separate gallery open to the public. There is plenty to see!

The three main themes to be addressed at the BCS Health Scotland Conference 2010 are Quality, Innovation, and Efficiency. International speakers from Australia, Canada, Sweden, America, Ireland, Wales and numerous UK speakers will position themselves on current relevant issues such as patient safety, the quality strategy, efficiency gains from IT and more.

For the first time, the NHS Scotland eHealth Awards will be presented to eHealth teams in Scotland. These awards will be presented by Scottish Government and by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to help boost the status of the IT profession in NHS Scotland at a time of significant change.

Moreover the new Vidiowiki delegate social networking tool will be used for linking up delegates before and after the event. Users can navigate a mind-map of delegates, speakers and exhibitors to create linkups and watch short clips about presentations and demos. This will help planning and networking before coming to the event.

A selection of posters will be available to view during the conference:

  • A novel security risk assessment model – Napier University
  • Clinical content modeling – NHS National Services Scotland
  • Trans-national exchange of eHealth innovations in northern Europe- Aberdeen University
  • A Study to evaluate the effectiveness of an electronic dashboard – Ulster hospital
  • A Study to evaluate the response times for alerts – Ulster hospital

Around 250 participants are expected to take part in this open event. Online registration is possible here. Details about fees and early bird registration can be found online.

A draft programme for the event can be found online at the event website.

Exhibitors are also leading a fun social evening at 5pm on the first day.

Yet again BCS Health Scotland has been able to produce all this for the incredibly low delegate registration prices starting as low as £30.

So register soon for the early bird rates, find us here BCS Health Scotland Conference

More spent per head in Scotland, but health benefits yet to show

Published Date: 10 June 2010

SCOTLAND is not seeing health improvements in line with the level of government spending, according to a new study.

• A report by a think-tank and auditors calls for more research into regional behaviour and health systems – to explain why Scotland’s health continues to struggle to improve. Picture: Getty

Just under £2,000 is spent per head on health in Scotland – about £250 more than in England – said the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) think-tank and auditors KPMG.

The study said there was a 12-16 per cent higher spend per person and 30 per cent higher staffing levels north of the Border in the NHS.

Reductions in death rates, including from cancer, heart disease and strokes, were welcomed but the authors argued they do not go as far as expected.

On life expectancy, the report said improvements in Scotland did not match those in England.

The report also said that Scotland’s 30 per cent higher level of staffing should be investigated through a new regulatory body to ensure value for money.

CPPR’s John McLaren said: “Our research has shown that while health spending and staffing levels per head in Scotland appear to be greater than in England, we are not experiencing the improved health outcomes that might have been hoped would have followed.

“This could be due to worsening needs in Scotland relative to England, for example due to differing behavioural patterns, but at present it is difficult to convert any such higher needs into extra costs.”

The report said smoking has declined in the past ten years but the number of smokers in Scotland “remains higher” than elsewhere in the UK.

The rate of deaths linked to alcohol is more than double the rate in England, the study added.

“Greater comparability of UK health needs, health systems and behavioural patterns is required, along with the incorporation of lessons to be learnt from international evidence,” Mr McLaren said. “This research should be conducted with an eye to what potential savings or reductions in demand, with regards to future health budgets, might be possible.”

The Scottish Government said health was not improving quickly enough but said parts of the report were “ill-informed”.

Click the link to read the full article about Scotlands Health

Plans to replace consultants with nurses in NHS Scotland

  • Medical staff
    Nurse in A&E

Exclusive: Kate Foster

30 May 2010

Patients will be assessed by nurses instead of consultants and spend less time in hospital under controversial cutbacks to meet waiting time targets in Scotland.

Many follow-up appointments will be scrapped altogether and patients could be discharged from hospital at weekends under the scheme.

The groundbreaking plans to “streamline” the NHS have been revealed as hospital managers prepare to meet an ambitious target that no patient should wait longer than 18 weeks from a GP referral to the date of their operation.

The move will allow thousands to be treated faster but last night doctors and politicians raised fears it could compromise patient care.

The sweeping changes have emerged in official advice to NHS managers from the Scottish Government’s 18-week Referral to Treatment Time Programme, staffed by doctors and health officials.

Key changes proposed by the experts, revealed in a briefing to health boards, include using specialist nurses and health professionals such as physiotherapists to “reduce consultant appointments” by assessing whether the patient needs a specialist or just requires advice.

Nurses will also be trained to carry out some follow-up appointments and many outpatients will be seen at weekends.

The advice also states day surgery should be “the norm” rather than traditional overnight stays and patients discharged “as soon as they are ready”, including weekends which previously hospitals have avoided due to scarce community services. Health boards are also told to eliminate unnecessary follow-up appointments by scrapping them or replacing them with phone calls.

The move applies across all specialties for non-urgent patients as part of a £230 million three-year scheme to improve NHS infrastructure.

Managers must consider making the changes to free up consultant appointments and hospital beds.

Follow the link to read more about plans to replace consultants with nurses in  NHS Scotland

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon launches the Patient Management System

NHS computer system


A new £44 million IT system which will pave the way for a paper-free NHS was today launched.

The Patient Management System (PMS) will be used to streamline in-patient and out-patient bookings, manage waiting lists, order tests and report test results.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that PMS is the first system that can be used in any hospital in the NHS and will replace paper processes, improving security and freeing up time for staff to spend on other vital tasks.

It will enable staff to keep track of patient records much more easily and allow information to be communicated back to GPs.

Until now, health boards have had different patient management systems in place. Ensuring they are all using the same one will make it easier for information to be shared securely when a patient is being treated by more than one health board.

So far, six NHS boards across Scotland have signed up to the system, covering 70 per cent of Scotland’s population, with the rest set to join in the coming months.

The system was launched with a visit to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie to see how a trial of the new programme has benefited patients and staff in the renal ward.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“This is a major step towards a paper-free NHS.

“This new system will be much more efficient, faster and more secure than outdated paper-based systems. It also frees up money to be spent on front-line services and is better for environment.

“Benefits for patients and staff include improved security, faster test results, staff being able to share information more quickly, and having staff freed up to carry out other tasks.

“It will also reduce the number of times patients have to give repeat information, which I know can be incredibly frustrating.

“Communicating with patients is one of the areas that I am absolutely determined the NHS will improve on and this new system will help us achieve this.

“This is just one of a range of steps we are taking to put the quality of care patients receive at the heart of everything the NHS does.”

Dr Jamie Traynor, consultant in renal medicine at Monklands Hospital, said:

“This Patient Management System is, to me, the first major leap towards a hospital-wide electronic patient record with huge advantages in the delivery of patient care.

“As well as the many efficiency benefits, patients will benefit directly as the staff looking after them will be able to make treatment decisions based on real-time access to up-to-date information such as blood results and medicines.

“It is also worth stressing that there will be a level of security built into this system that will exceed what we are able to achieve with paper records.”

The TrackCare™ connected healthcare information system, developed by InterSystems Corporation, will be implemented as the Patient Management System by health boards in Ayrshire & Arran, Borders, Grampian, Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Lanarkshire, NHS Lothian has already implemented the programme.

The framework contract enabling all Scottish health boards to sign individual contracts from this solution was signed earlier this year. Representatives from the consortium health boards above who led the procurement programme today signed contracts against it to the value of £44 million.

Scottish Government announces £4 million investment in telecare for older people

Hi-tech help to keep older people at home

A telecare system

A total of £16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006

Hi-tech devices to help older people remain independent in their own homes will be funded with a new grant from the Scottish government.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison announced £4m of funding for the “vital” telecare technology.

The devices include vibrating “rumble” pillows to alert people with hearing problems if there is a fire alarm, and electronic medication reminders.

Funding is available for all 32 council areas and could help 13,000 people.

Every local council and health board partnership is to be offered £120,000 to spend in 2010-11, but each authority has to provide match funding.

A total of £16m has been invested in telecare technology since 2006, with 25,800 older people having benefited.

We are firmly committed to free personal care but we need to change the ways we deliver care
Shona Robison
Public Health Minister

Ms Robison said: “Investing in telecare is vital if we are to remain ahead of the game in meeting the needs of our growing older population.

“Telecare can help older people remain independent in their own homes – something we must explore further if we are to rise to the challenges we face.”

Read more about this investment in telecare

Life Expectancy in Special Areas of Scotland

The Registrar General for Scotland today published a report on differences in life expectancy between urban and rural areas, deprived and less deprived areas, and Community Health Partnership areas. The report shows life expectancy in the period 2006-2008.

Commenting on these results, Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said:

“This report shows that life expectancy varies a great deal across Scotland. In general, people in the countryside live longer than people in towns. And there is a big difference in expected lifespans between the most deprived and least deprived areas – over 13 years for men and 9 years for women.”

The key points in this report for life expectancy at birth in 2006-2008 are:

Men in rural areas – remote and accessible – can expect to live over 3.5 years longer (77.2 and 77.5 years respectively) than men in large urban (73.7 years);

Women in rural areas – remote and accessible – can expect to live around 2 years longer (81.4 and 81.2 years respectively) than women in large urban areas (79.3 years);

Life expectancy decreases as deprivation increases;

Men in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live for 13.5 years longer than men in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (80.8 years compared with 67.3 years);

Women in the 10 per cent least deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live around 9 years longer than those in the 10 per cent most deprived areas (84.1 years compared with 75.1 years);

Men in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area can expect to live over 8 years longer than men in North and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership areas (78.0 years compared to 69.4 and 69.6 years respectively);

Women in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area can expect to live around 6 years longer than women in North and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership areas (82.5 years compared to 76.0 and 76.8 years respectively);

In the 10 years since 1996-1998, life expectancy at birth has increased in every Community Health Partnership area, although in 11 cases by a margin so small or non-significant that it may be a consequence of the volatile nature of life expectancy estimates in small areas;

For men, the largest increase in life expectancy at birth, over the 10 year period, was in West Lothian Community Health Partnership area with 5.7 per cent (an improvement of 4.1 years) and for women in East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership area with 3.8 per cent (an improvement of 3.0 years);

The gap of 8.6 years between the Community Health Partnership area with the highest male life expectancy at birth and the Community Health Partnership area with the lowest has not changed over the 10 year period; for females it has increased by 0.7 years (from 5.8 years in 1996-1998 to 6.5 years in 2006-2008);

The gap between male and female life expectancy narrowed in all but 6 of the Community Health Partnership areas. The largest decrease (2.2 years) was in North Highland (4.0 years in 2006-2008 compared to 6.2 years in 1996-1998).

The full publication, Life Expectancy in Special Areas 2006-2008, is available on this website.

Audit Scotland reports on orthopaedic services

NHS ‘could save £2m’ on joint implants

Hip Xray

Waiting times for treatment have ‘considerably’ reduced

Health boards in Scotland could save millions of pounds by handling the cost of knee and hip replacements more efficiently, a spending watchdog said.

Audit Scotland found that £2m could be saved just by stopping NHS boards from purchasing replacement hip and knee joints from different suppliers.

The price difference in joints was highlighted in a review of orthopaedic services across the NHS in Scotland.

It found some boards were paying more than double for implants.

Artificial hips can range in cost from an average £858 in Lothian to £1,832 in neighbouring Forth Valley.

The cost of knee implants varies from an average £1,166 at the Golden Jubilee hospital near Glasgow to £2,060 in the Western Isles.

‘Scope’ for savings

The report stated: “NHS boards can reduce the cost of implants and standardise training by minimising the different types of implants that are used and purchasing implants that provide best value-for-money based on cost and clinical effectiveness.”

Read more about NHS Scotland savings

Read the Audit Scotland Report