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Setting up a specialist service

Published on 31 October 2019

Commissioning a specialist service

We coordinate the National Specialist Services Committee (NSSC). This committee considers and advises NHS boards and Scottish Government on the provision of nationally designated specialist services for Scotland.

We provide support and advice to applicants who are considering submitting a proposal. We'll also undertake an objective assessment to prepare it for presentation to NSSC.

Before you begin, please contact us for advice and guidance on how to prepare your submission:

NSSC evaluation and planning of these services involves a systematic approach to decision making. This centres on patient need and clearly defined evaluation criteria. The process is set up to ensure fairness and transparency around producing high-quality, consistent and evidence based specialist services.

NSSC is chaired by an NHS board chief executive. It comprises representatives from each territorial NHS board in Scotland. Members cover a variety of disciplines, including:

  • medical directors
  • directors of public health
  • planning representatives
  • finance representatives
  • workforce representatives

The Chair of the National Professional Patient and Public Reference Group (NPPPRG) also has a role.

NPPPRG coordinates a robust advisory structure. This draws on expertise from existing professional, patient and public groups. Find further details on the remit, membership and ways of working of these groups in the NSS Governance Framework document (page three).

NSSC meets quarterly to consider proposals for national commissioning of specialist health services. You can see the meeting dates on page four. The committee oversees existing nationally commissioned services. Reviews take place every three to five years.

Continue reading to find out who can submit a proposal, how to do it and the timelines.