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Our role in COVID recovery and future-proofing NHS services

Following the recent NHSScotland Event, we're reflecting on its theme of pandemic recovery and reform for the future, and what this means for NSS.

Published on 29 June 2022

“As the NHS in Scotland contended with the pandemic for a second year, NHS National Services Scotland has continued to play an essential role in supporting the national response to COVID-19. Beyond those contributions to the pandemic response, 2021/2022 has been a year of remobilisation and innovation to recover and future-proof our health and care services.

“Our staff have shown exceptional commitment, in a much-changed landscape, to begin pushing forward with these transformations.Their determination and inspiring hard work allows us to keep delivering innovation for the NHS and for the people of Scotland.”

Mary Morgan, Chief Executive, NHS National Services Scotland

How we’ve supported NHSScotland

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, NHS National Services Scotland has worked tirelessly to underpin the national response to the pandemic. Over the past 12 months, while making continued contributions to the pandemic response, we’ve also been concentrating on COVID recovery and future-proofing NHS services.

The healthcare landscape has changed immensely over the past two years so we’ve used a solutions-focussed approach to harness the power of clinical innovation and digital technology to support meaningful transformation. Below are some of our highlights.

NHS Scotland Assure is improving healthcare built environments

Our new service works with health boards and partners to ensure healthcare buildings are designed to be safe, improve patient safety and support a ‘once for Scotland’ approach. NHS Scotland Assure unites professionals from different backgrounds including: infection, prevention and control; construction; and capital planning, facilities, decontamination and sustainability to reduce risk and improve quality in Scotland’s buildings and estates.

The last year has resulted in:

  • the successful decommissioning of NHS Louisa Jordan
  • development of a structured bespoke cleaning specification for adult care homes
  • the ongoing development of epidemiological intelligence and evidence-based guidance to inform and support front-line teams in their COVID-19 response

Partnering and collaborating is a key focus for NHS Scotland Assure. In the last year Edinburgh Napier University was also appointed as a research commissioning partner and the NHS Scotland Assure Learning Network was rolled-out, enabling colleagues from all Health Boards to share knowledge and collaborate.

We established the Cyber Security Centre of Excellence

In September 2021, we became the first tenant enrolled at the new cyberQuarter research and development collaborative hub at Dundee’s Abertay University.

Once fully established onsite our National Cyber Centre of Excellence will work to protect NHSScotland against the threat of cyber-attack. The establishment of our Centre aims to bring highly skilled cybersecurity jobs to the city.

Our clinical innovation and transformation

Clinical expertise is at the heart of NSS, with around 30% of our staff working as clinical professionals. With our partners we have worked on a number of initiatives which are transforming how key NHSScotland services are delivered.

These initiatives include supporting the recovery of endoscopy services through our national programmes such as SCOTCAP and Cytosponge. Additionally we established the Accelerated National Innovation Adoption (ANIA) Collaborative, which is bringing together national delivery partners to share skills and expertise.

We implemented FAIR guidelines

To mark World Blood Donor on 14 June 2021 NSS implemented the recommendations of the FAIR report. This milestone change in blood donation criteria enabled men who have sex with men to donate blood on an equal basis for the first time.

We are proud to have played a role in reducing inequality and driving positive change.

We paid £2.8billion to primary care contractors

NSS administers payments to primary care practitioners on behalf of NHSScotland and we achieved our targets in support of doctors, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists during the past 12 months, making payments totalling around £2.8billion. Our teams also completed payment of the £500 COVID-19 bonus to primary care contractors and locums, as well as an additional £10million of Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme Parity Payments, improving the lives of scheme members.

We've put sustainability at the heart of our decision-making

When it comes to environmental management and sustainability, we aim to be integral to a world-leading health and care service while ensuring that we protect our environment, people and planet by becoming a net zero carbon organisation with sustainable operation. We've put sustainability at the heart of our decision-making, and some of our recent achievements include:

  • significantly reducing business travel
  • adopting cloud solutions to reduce reliance on paper
  • decarbonising the NHSScotland fleet by using electric vehicles and biofuels

Scan for Safety

The pioneering NHS Scotland Scan for Safety programme is at the forefront of improving patient safety, by improving the traceability of medical devices through point of care scanning and digital data capture.

This essential programme will deliver a range of benefits for patients, clinicians, as well as local and national health system administrators across a number of key areas.