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National Services Division Commissioning for Scotland's Health

Specialist Services

This page is divided into the following sections which are easily accessible by following the links below:


Our aim at National Services Division is to help patients who need access to treatment or investigation of a very specialised nature, or who have a very rare condition, to obtain the care that they need, while seeking to ensure that the highest possible standards are delivered within available resources. National commissioning aims to:

  • Ensure equity of access for all Scottish residents to specialist and screening services
  • Ensure the best possible clinical outcomes within the funding available
  • Provide a secure funded environment for the establishment and development of new national services
  • Provide a risk-sharing arrangement for NHS Boards where incidence is sporadic and treatment involves specialist skills or expensive equipment
  • Avoid the unnecessary proliferation of duplicate services, thus promoting clinical quality and cost effectiveness
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Commissioning process

National commissioning is reserved for those very specialist services where local or even regional commissioning is not appropriate. The services are generally concerned with the diagnosis and/or treatment of rare conditions.

Applications for designation to become a nationally commissioned service will be considered by the National Specialist Services Committee (NSSC). Please follow the link to the national designation process page for more information on applying for national designation and on the NSSC.

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Performance Management of national commissioned Specialist Services

Performance Management of national services is a continuous process of close informal working and formal annual performance review. The formal element of the annual cycle of performance management involves two meetings each year with each national service.

All national services are required to submit an annual report using the NSD template. This is available, along with guidance on how to complete from the links below:

Specialist Services Annual Report Template [4 pages, 139Kb]

Guidance notes for the completion of the annual report for Specialist Services [7 pages, 101Kb]

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Reviews of national Specialist Services

All existing designated national specialist services are reviewed within a 3-5 year rolling programme to ensure that services:

  • continue to meet the National Specialist Services Committee designation criteria
  • Are clinically and cost effective
  • Continue to meet needs and still require designation
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List of National Specialist Services

The table below includes a list of the National Specialist Services commissioned by NSD:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

List of specialist services
List of Specialist Services
Adult alternative donor stem cell transplantation (adult bone marrow transplantation)
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Adult cystic fibrosis services
Adult renal transplantation
Advanced heart failure in adults (includes heart transplantation)
Advanced Interventions (Neurosurgery for severe mental health disorder)
Autologous Ear Reconstruction
Brachial plexus service
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Cervical Cytology Training School
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Chronic Pain Management Service (page under construction)
Cleft lip and palate surgery service
Clinical Scientist Training Schemes
Cochlear Implantation
Complex airways management in children
Extra-corporeal life support (ECLS)
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Genetic laboratories (includes molecular cytogenetics)
Histopathology EQA
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Hyperbaric medicine
Hydatidiform mole follow-up
Inpatient psychiatry for children (up to age 12)
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Interventional fetal therapy
Islet cell transplantation
Liver Transplantation
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Molecular pathology
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Obstetric brachial plexus surgery
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Ophthalmic oncology (includes proton beam treatment where necessary)
Paediatric bone marrow transplantation
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Paediatric cardiac services (cardiac surgery, interventional cardiology, neonatal cardiology)
Paediatric epilepsy surgery
Paediatric intensive care (PICU)
Paediatric renal transplant
Paediatric and young adult spinal deformity service
Pancreas and simultaneous pancreas / renal transplantation
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis
Prostate Cryotherapy
Pulmonary hypertension (Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit)
Sacral Nerve Stimulation for Urinary Dysfunction
Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service
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Specialist Prosthetics Service
Spinal Injuries (including high dependency home ventilation)
Supra-renal and thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysms
Transport of critically ill and injured children
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