Healthcare Improvement Scotland
HIS was established by the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, taking over the work of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) and the regulatory functions, in regard to independent healthcare provision, previously conducted by the Care Commission, now renamed the Care Inspectorate.
The function of the new body is to implement the healthcare priorities of the Scottish Government, in particular the Healthcare Quality Strategy of NHS Scotland.
Units within Healthcare Improvement Scotland
Healthcare Improvement Scotland incorporates several organisations::
- Healthcare Environment Inspectorate
- Scottish Health Technologies Group
- Scottish Health Council
- Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network
- Scottish Medicines Consortium
- Scottish Patient Safety Programme
Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network
The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) was formed in 1993 and develops evidence based clinical practice guidelines for the Scottish National Health Service. Membership includes medical specialists, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, professions allied to medicine, patients, managers, social services and researchers. In 2005 it became part of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.
Guidelines are developed by multidisciplinary working groups with representation from across Scotland. Each Guideline has the preliminary conclusions and draft recommendations presented it to a wider audience for feedback before publication. After publication they are available for download free of charge.
There are over 130 Guidelines available on their website including ones in 2014 on dental caries and lung cancer and in 2013 on breast cancer, hepatitis C, chronic pain, schizophrenia and antithrombotic therapy. Most conditions have been covered at least once 
Scottish Medicines Consortium
It seeks to supply advice within 12 weeks of a new medicine being licensed to ensure that patients who could benefit can get access to the medicine as quickly as possible. The speed of the process has allowed the SMC to be compared favourably against the performance of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which performs a similar role for the NHS in England and Wales. On one occasion, NICE was accused of incompetence by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for delaying issuing advice for England and Wales about a drug that had already been approved for use in Scotland by the SMC.