In October 2023 the Chief Executives of VHS and NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) signed a memorandum of agreement, to jointly affirm their intention to build a relationship based on collaborative working that will support the achievement of outcomes of the National Performance Framework and the objectives and vision of the Christie Commission Report of 2011. The agreement will run till 31st October 2025 and then be reviewed. It is a statement of mutual aims and collaboration, and does not involve legal or financial obligations of any kind.
Both organisations share a commitment to the people of Scotland to improve wellbeing and enable them to lead healthy, safe lives. NSS’s purpose is to provide national solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland and its vision is to be integral to a world-leading health and care service. VHS exists to provide a national voice, intermediary and network for voluntary health organisations in Scotland and aims to create a healthier, fairer Scotland served by a thriving voluntary health sector.
NSS acknowledge that VHS contributes to supporting national health and care services, and seek opportunities to collaborate with them on activities that benefit health and care outcomes. Accountable to the Scottish Government, NSS is a national NHS Board operating at the heart of NHS Scotland. As well as providing national strategic support services and expert advice to NHS Scotland, it also plays an active and crucial role in the delivery of effective healthcare to patients and the public. NSS provides national infrastructure services and solutions which are integral to the delivery of health and care services in Scotland – locally, regionally and nationally. Through its services it provides invaluable support and advice, a role that has extended to the wider public sector. A key strategic priority for NSS is assisting other organisations and stakeholders, involved in health and care, by connecting them, using their national position to ensure services, solutions and programmes of work are aligned, coordinated and integrated into regional and local initiatives. This ensures support of transformation throughout the health and care system.
To promote and embed collaboration across both organisations, including sharing knowledge and learning around national, regional and local programmes and initiatives. To explore potential joint working opportunities around fair health and the right to health, focusing around policies and practices for tackling under-served people and communities. Working together to better understand the causes and where solutions have been successful around poverty and discrimination further alleviated through social prescribing and link working. To support national solutions around preventative and anticipatory approaches. Working together with other organisations including Public Health Scotland around health improvement and protection. Also, to share knowledge and insights around the impacts on health from climate change.
Joint partnership working across the wider Health and social care landscape, including the 31 Health and Social Care Partnerships. The effect of poor mental and physical health has been more noticeable in recent years causing people to become distressed and in a state of crisis. Both organisations have data and insights that might help provide a national picture of issues, and help shape future services and improve outcomes. The key attributes are around person centred care where lived experience is a crucial element to review, assess, design and deliver improving health and care outcomes.
VHS Chief Executive Claire Stevens welcomed the agreement, which she said marked a milestone in VHS’s relationship with NSS.