Health Science Scotland, formerly the Scottish Academic Health Science Collaboration, is the national academic health science centre of Scotland. Funded by Scottish Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund, HSS is a partnership between 4 of Scotland's medical schools (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen), their sister NHS Boards and the Chief Scientist Office. It aims to promote excellence in the field of clinical and translational medicine. Health Science Scotland brings together the most senior figures from across Government, academia and the NHS.
Current provision of healthcare is the responsibility of 14 geographically based local NHS Boards and 7 National Special Health Boards. Proposals for the establishment of 15 NHS Boards were announced by the Scottish Executive Health Department in December 2000. Further details about the role and function of the unified NHS health boards were provided in May 2001. From 1st October 2001, each geographical Health Board area had a single NHS Board that was responsible for improving health and health services across their local area, replacing the previous decision-making structures of 43 separate boards and trusts. Local Health Boards are supported by a number of non-geographical Special Health Boards providing national services.
Approximately 160,000 staff work across 14 regional NHS Boards, seven Special NHS Boards and one public health body, More than 12,000 of these healthcare staff are engaged under independent contractor arrangements. Descriptions of staff numbers can be expressed as headcount and by Whole-Time Equivalent (WTE) which is an estimate that helps to take account of full and part-time work patterns. Scotland's healthcare workforce includes: around 67,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors, over 4,900 consultants, more than 4,800 general practitioners, more than 500 nurse practitioners and 1,600 registered nurses working in GP surgeries. Dentists, around 4,000 pharmacists, mostly working in community pharmacy positions, with around 1,200 retail pharmacies across Scotland. Opticians, allied health professionals, administrators, clerical and domestic staff.