This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Public health reform

The public health reform programme is a partnership between the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

We welcome the reform of public health in Scotland and have been involved in the thinking around this since the 2015 Review of Public Health in Scotland.

The reform programme has three key components

  1. the development of Public Health Priorities
  2. establishing Public Health Scotland
  3. the development of a whole system approach to public health.

You can find out more about each of these below.

Public Health Priorities

The Scottish Government and COSLA agreed six Public Health Priorities in June 2018. The intention is that these priorities are shared across the whole public health and that they facilitate collaborative working. 

The priorities are listed below. 

  1. A Scotland where we live in vibrant, healthy and safe places and communities.
  2. A Scotland where we flourish in our early years.
  3. A Scotland where we have good mental wellbeing.
  4. A Scotland where we reduce the use of and harm from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
  5. A Scotland where we have a sustainable, inclusive economy with equality of outcomes for all.
  6. A Scotland where we eat well, have a healthy weight and are physically active.

You can read a blog post on the Public Health Reform site (external site) by our Chief Executive, Gerry McLaughlin, on the link between the National Performance Framework and the Public Health Priorities.

Public Health Scotland

A new national public health agency is being established, which will bring together three domains of public health into one organisation. Public Health Scotland (PHS) will come into being on 1 April 2020 and will be comprised of 

  • NHS Health Scotland
  • Health Protection Scotland
  • Information Services Division.

We welcome the creation of PHS and believe that national leadership for public health can be strengthened by bringing the domains together in one single agency.

We have been closely involved in the development of plans for PHS. This includes 

The Scottish Government and COSLA consulted on the establishment of PHS (external site) in Summer 2019. We submitted a response, which sets out what we believe to be important in the future public health landscape. This includes

  • the importance of taking a human rights based approach to public health
  • involvement in community planning
  • working with the third sector.

Whole system approach

The third component of public health reform is developing a whole system approach to improving health and reducing inequalities. 

This links to the recommendation in the Public Health Review for greater partnership work across all sectors.

The public health system includes

  • community planning
  • the third sector
  • local and national government
  • academia
  • health and social care
  • the private sector.

To make a real difference to the health of the people of Scotland, people and organisations working across all sectors need to work together. 

You can find out more about whole system working on the Public Health Reform site.

Find out more

You can find out more on the Public Health Reform site (external site) or can contact us.