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What are national networks?

Published on 03 June 2020

About national networks

We help ensure patients across Scotland have the best possible access to high-quality specialist care. We bring together a range of health and other professionals involved in providing care for patients with rare and/or complex conditions when the full range of skills required isn't available within an NHS board or even within a region.

Operating on a national level, we work across professional and organisational boundaries to support Scottish Government policy aims. This ensures delivery of safe, effective healthcare that’s designed around patients, carers and families.

We bring together everyone involved in providing specialist care for particular groups of patients with the most complex healthcare needs. This includes health and other professionals, patients, carers, families and voluntary groups. Each network designs pathways of care that ensure patients and their families have equal access to the highest standards of care, regardless of where they live in Scotland.

The four key types of networks are:

  • clinical networks – in the main, these support service improvement for patients with rare conditions or highly complex needs, e.g. inherited metabolic disorders
  • diagnostic networks – bring professionals together to improve diagnostic services across a range of disciplines
  • strategic networks – support the planning, financing and improvement of major service change
  • cancer networks – support improvements in care for specific types of cancer

The main focus of our work is:

  • service planning – mapping and designing services across Scotland
  • education – for both professionals and carers
  • collecting and reporting data to measure and improve quality of care
  • communicating and engaging with stakeholders – understanding their requirements and involving them in shaping services that best meet patient and carer needs

Use the pages that follow to find out more about our national networks.