Scotland’s NHS vs NHS England – how do they differ?

Scotlands NHS

If you weren’t aware, Scotlands NHS remains independent from the other UK public health systems. Naturally, there is confusion surrounding this, especially when patients have to “cross-border” or when emergency care is involved. Within this blog post, we will answer questions relating to NHS England and NHS Scotland, outlining how they differ (and how they are similar). Before we begin, regardless of whether you work for NHS England or NHS Scotland, if you are a UK healthcare worker, you can sign up FOR FREE and use our money-saving discounts. 

What is the difference between Scotlands NHS and NHS England?

The shortest and most straightforward answer to the question “What is the difference between NHS and NHS England?” is simple–it was founded that way. Scotland’s NHS was created at the same time as NHS England, NHS Northern Ireland and NHS Wales in 1948 via the National Health Service Act. All four systems make up the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, and NHS Scotland, just like NHS England, provides free healthcare to residents–and it is paid for by general taxation and a block grant from the UK Central Government. 

NHS Trusts vs Health Boards

In England, the NHS has Trusts, and each Trust has an impact on hospital services, community services and/or other aspects of patient care–including transport facilities and much more. Essentially, an NHS Trust is an organisational unit that operates within the National Health Service, and they generally serve a geographical area. 

NHS Trusts do not exist in Scotland. Instead, Scotland has 14 regional “health boards”. Health boards are then further subdivided into Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP), and there are now 32 HSCPs across Scotland. Each of the boards are responsible for delivering acute and primary healthcare services. 

FAQ’s relating to Scotlands NHS

Is the NHS better in Scotland or England?

It has been reported in the past that Scotland has higher spending when it comes to their healthcare funding, but that doesn’t directly impact the quality of care. Little to no evidence exists that implies one service is better than the other, as both NHS England and NHS Scotland do exceptional work, providing life-changing care and support to those people facing a variety of health concerns.

Can I use the NHS in Scotland if I live in England?

If you are coming to Scotland for work, or if you have a UK passport and choose to move and live in Scotland full time, then you can get healthcare from the NHS. Also, if you receive a UK pension or UK War pension, you can get NHS healthcare when visiting Scotland. So long as you can verify your identity, you should be able to gain access to the healthcare system as an NHS Patient. 

Is there an NHS app for Scotland?

Yes–NHS Scotland has a COVID app that you can download from the App Store and Google Store. The app lets you share your COVID status when travelling internationally, and the COVID Status (or COVID Passport) will contain details of your vaccination and test results.

How many Hospitals in the UK vs Scotland?

Currently, England has 875 (71%) hospitals, Scotland has 229 (19%), and Wales has around 82 (7%). 

How to access NHS Services if you are visiting from abroad.

NHS treatment is free, but people visiting from abroad are not automatically guaranteed free treatment when visiting—some charges may apply. Under The EHIC (or a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC)), necessary, urgent medical treatment will be covered during a visit to England.

If you are visiting from abroad and wish to use the NHS service for a non-emergency, you can contact NHS 111 for support, as you may be able to see a general practitioner regarding your health concern. However, in order to use this service, you will need to confirm your covid status, and you may need to provide health insurance and vacation/travel details. 

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