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Key Stats
  • Location: Scotland, UK
  • Population size: 5.3 Million
  • Health Budget: £13 Billion (excludes social care provision)
  • The Ecosystem is hosted by The Digital Health & Care Institute
  • The effective, secure & innovative use of  ICT is a prime enabler to achieve Scottish Government’s 2020 Vision for Health and Social Care
  • In Scotland we have 100% digitised health records for our population for over 100 years
Key Priorities

Main chronic diseases & key figures:

Using the data source, the most common long-term conditions is Scotland are:
•    asthma
•    depression 
•    hypertension

each affecting over 5% of the population. 

The following conditions affect 2-5% of the population: 
•    coronary heart disease
•    diabetes mellitus
•    hypothyroidism
•    stroke. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects just under 2%. Skin and musculoskeletal disorders (particularly osteoarthritis and back pain) are also very common conditions.

Ageing: % up to 65 years old:

In Scotland 17% of people are estimated to be aged under 16, 65% aged 16-64 and 18% aged 65 and over. (Percentage based on population estimate of 5,327,700). 

By 2037 current projections suggest that the population will age significantly, with the number of people aged 65 and over increasing by 59% from 0.93 million to 1.47 million. This rise in people living longer is due to the improvement of health diagnosis, treatment and management, in addition to identification of illnesses, diseases and the development of medication and technologies to help overcome illnesses and disease.


The estimated population of Scotland on 30 June 2013 (last censis) was 5,327,700. Current projections suggest that the population of Scotland will rise to 5.78 million by 2037. This is predicted due to an increase in birth rates, increase in life expectancy and increase in net migration. 

Description of the Health & social care system:


Health Budget: £13 Billion (excludes social care provision)

Health & Social care providers 

Key figures on hospitals, Primary care & GPs, Physicians, nurses; % public & private…
Acute hospital activity

•    There has been a decrease in the rate of Did Not Attends (DNAs) for new outpatient appointments over the last five years (9.8% of appointments in quarter ending March 2015 compared with 10.4% of appointments in quarter ending March 2010).
•    The number of inpatient and day case discharges to acute specialties has increased by around 44,000 (12.5%) since quarter ending March 2010 to around 393,000 in quarter ending March 2015.
•    Since the Heat 75+ target was introduced in 2009/10, the rate of emergency bed days per 1,000 patients aged 75 and over in Scotland has reduced by a provisional 11.0% from 5,421 in 2009/10 to 4,826 in 2013/14.
•    The number of GPs contracted to work for NHS Scotland has risen by about 10% since the agreement of the General Medical Services Contract (Scotland) in 2004. Currently there are around 4900 GPs in post across Scotland.
•    Since 2004, the GP workforce has changed from mainly being male (55% in 2004) to mainly being female (only 44% males in 2014).
•    The population of GPs has aged alongside its patients. In 2014, 45% of the male GPs, and around a quarter of the female GPs, were aged 50 years and over. In 2004 this was 38% and 17%, respectively

NHSScotland Workforce Information, Staff in Post, Vacancies and Turnover at 31 March 2015

•    At 31 March 2015, NHSScotland had a headcount of 160,746 staff, equivalent to 137,603.5 whole time staff (WTE). These are increases of 1.5% and 1.2% respectively since 31 March 2014.
•    Of the overall increase in staff of 1,977.8WTE between March 2014 and March 2015, the biggest increase was seen in nursing and midwifery (1,001.8 WTE)
•    The number of consultants in post saw an annual increase of 4.8% (224.8 WTE) to 4,918.4 WTE at 31 March 2015. This was partly due to more complete recording of data, as boards moved to a new national HR system.
•    The total number of combined nursing and midwifery vacancies increased by 344.0 WTE from March 2014 to 1,981.5 WTE, a rate of 3.2%.
•    At 31 March 2015, 7.7% (407.6 WTE) of consultant posts were vacant, an increase from the rate of 6.5% at March 2014. Of these, 147.7 WTE were vacant for more than six months, an increase of 68.5 WTE on March 2014.
•    The use of agency nursing and midwifery staff increased by 53.4% over the past year. Agency staff provided cover equivalent to 191 whole time staff at a cost of £16m, compared to 124 whole time staff (£9.3m) the year before. Bank nurse usage increased over the same period from 3,933 WTE to 4,256 WTE.

Funders & decision-makers

Key funders are the Scottish Government Health & Care Directorate

Digital infrastructure

Health & Care in Scotland is driven by the NHSScotland Quality Strategy and the 2020 Roadmap and Vision. Everything we do in Scotland is aligned to this. We have 100% digitised health records for our population for over 100 years. We have an established eHealth Strategy (refreshed) and a national approach to technology implementation. Scotland aspires and plans for much improved Health & Social Care Integration which is person-centred and has recently legislated for that outcome.

Strategy for Health & social care

The effective, secure and innovative use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a prime enabler to achieve Scottish Government’s 2020 Vision for Health and Social Care as it will allow more integrated working, greater efficiency, greater patient involvement, and more focus on care in the community. 

Key Objectives
•    together with all relevant partners, set out a strategy for eHealth research and innovation in Scotland;
•    continue to make more NHS performance data and statistics freely available online through Open Data initiatives, while at the same time ensuring there are robust safeguards in place where patient-originated data is to be used by approved medical research projects;
•    pursue open standards in the relevant NHS IT-systems to avoid technical and supplier lock-in and provide increased opportunities for innovation;
•    promote Scottish eHealth science and technology around the world. 

Expertise Areas

The Digital Health & Care Institute has developed the platform for innovation, thorough its unique innovation model; exploratory, laboratory & factory.
Visionary Leadership

•    H&SC Integration Legislation
•    Investment
•    Innovating for Economic Development
Appetite & Opportunity
•    700+ DHI members
•    76+ DHI Projects
•    19 Universities, 14 Health Boards, 32 Local Authorities, >250 3rd Sector, 1200 High Growth Companies
•    Unique Test Bed – urban, semi-urban, rural, remote & island populations

Main projects achieved, realisations

A Scottish Ecosystem for Innovation has held three Ecosystem events since June 2014, with a further 6 scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2016. The Scottish Ecosystem has currently explored the following themes:

•    Health & Care Scotland
•    Diabetes
•    Outpatient Technology and Services.

Each event brought together industry (business), academic and civic audiences, realising and rationalising the current challenges faced (in the set theme area), and how innovative technology can help transform how health/care is delivered and received (in the set theme area).  

From each Ecosystem event DHI have analysed the key outputs and from this DHI have successfully raised 3 call for innovations within the key theme areas. The calls have seen many applications submitted and funding granted, and as a result this has seen an increase in the DHI project portfolio, which currently sits at over 78 live projects. 

To attend ecosystem events the delegate’s must be part of the DHI membership. The membership is a space that allows people to network, collaborate and a space to share ideas, latest news on digital health and care, funding and opportunities for exploration. Since the first Ecosystem the DHI membership has seen an increase from 320 to over 750 members (as of August 2015) and industry, academic and civic collaborating within the digital health and care space.

Main opportunities and tenders


•    change the way health & care is delivered within Scotland
•    supporting people to communicate with NHSScotland; 
•    contributing to care integration; 
•    improving medicines safety; 
•    enhancing the availability of information for NHSS staff; 
•    providing information to support management decisions and maximise efficiency
•    to contribute to digital health innovation through greater liaison with the research community and industry 
•    provide a platform for innovation that could radically 

Key People