What is HIS (Health Improvement Scotland)?

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) is a healthcare improvement organisation for Scotland established by the Public reform Services (Scotland) Act 2010. It is a public regulatory body that is part of the Scottish National Health Service but only regulates independent premises/healthcare providers.

What is the Purpose of HIS?

The purpose of HIS is to help people residing in Scotland to get the best quality health and social care that there is available. The areas in which HIS focuses are:

  • Helping health and social care organisations to redesign and continuously improve services available.
  • Provide assurances in regards to quality, helping give people the confidence in the services and service providers to further improve them.
  • Using resources available to the best of their abilities to ensure that all the money invested in work adds value to the care people receive.
  • Helping to enable people to make informed decisions about their own care and treatment, person centred care.
  • Sharing knowledge and providing evidence that allows users to get the best out of the services they use.

Who Should Register With HIS?

A business must be registered with HIS if they wish to provide independent health care in Scotland. Since this can be on a private or voluntary basis, those outside the NHS include,

  • Independent hospitals.
  • Private psychiatric facilities/hospitals.
  • Voluntary hospices.

Where are HIS Standards Upheld?

The Health and Social Care Standards that are set out are expected to be upheld in every sector that deals with health, social care or social services work within Scotland as well as the rest of the country, including in independent establishments.

As a result, the standards have been developed to make health and social care better for everyone that comes into interact with a service provider.

What are the HIS 5 Key Elements?

The foundations of these principles are set upon 5 key elements:

  • Dignity and respect,
    • Being treated in a way in which a patients or service users wishes are respected,
    • Having the views of the patient or service user at the forefront of any treatment plans.
    • Being treated with care and compassion by polite, courteous staff.
  • Compassion,
    • The humane quality of understanding suffering of patients and helping to the best of your ability.
  • Inclusion,
    • Being included as an individual in own healthcare plans, this is called person centred care.
  • Responsive care
    • Care given at the right time to make sure any avoidable suffering or further illness is treated in time.
  • Support and Wellbeing:-addressed below


In regards to health, HIS outline a minimum set of requirements that are considered person-centred, safe and effective. However, these standards have to be realistic, fit for purpose and apply across all settings.

As a result, the individual should feel like they are the priority of the organisation instead of one in the many.

Wellbeing – HIS

The individual is asked about preferences regarding lifestyle and aspirations.

The healthcare provider should endeavour to support these to promote well-being.

Therefore, the individual is encouraged to achieve their full potential and are supported in making informed choices regarding their treatments. They are given the right to choose, and where possible the path that is taken.


As a public body, HIS has a duty of care regarding collecting data on people. For this reason, it includes all people such as but not exclusive to,

  • Visitors to HIS website.
  • Job applicants (current and former).
  • Patient data processed as part of core work programmes.
  • Volunteers
  • Experts and consultants
  • Complainants and others individuals in relation to both NHS or Independent Health complaints
  • Complainants in relation to data protection or freedom of information
  • People who contact HIS via social media

Service Provided/Delivered

Services delivered should allow for the service user to feel confident the healthcare providers have done everything in their power to uphold the principle of person-centred care.

Therefore, the service user should feel like they have been consulted where possible on their care plans and treatment as well as having been treated fairly.

Again, the service user or individual should feel as though they have experienced a high-quality environment in the premises and that they have been advocated for when it has been required.

How Does a Business Register with HIS?

The registration process can be completed via an application form and must only be completed online where the details of the business and the type of service must be supplied which include,

  • Staffing levels.
  • Details of any manager appointed to run the service.
  • Suitability of the premise.
  • Arrangement for infection controls.

The process of registration includes a strict protocol that will be followed taking approximately four months in total.

What is the HIS Application Process?

For instance, an application will only be granted if it is proven the business owner is fit to run a healthcare service and the following registration process is completed,

  • Completing pre-registration form.
  • Receiving access to HIS eForms portal.
  • Completing registration application via portal.
  • Submitting supporting documents via portal,
    • For exmaple, there will need to be the following documents included with the application to assess the applicants ability to run a feasible healthcare system:
      • Accounts.
      • Insurance certificates.
      • Plans of the premise.
      • The business plan of what is intended.
      • A recruitment policy.
  • Pay the registration fee,
    • For example, the application also requires a fee of £3,620 to be paid.
  • Application allocated to inspector for processing.
  • A registration site visit.
  • Registration granted,
    • For example, if the proposed application is satisfactory after all the requirements are met the application will be granted. The business owner will be issued with a certificate of registration which must be displayed on the propose premises at all times.

As a result, there are some conditions the person(s) applying must fulfil for the application to be considered such as,

  • Not having committed an offence that carried a jail term of three or more months.
  • lacking in committed specific crimes such as those against children or vulnerable adults.
  • The applicant cannot have gone bankrupt at any point.
  • The applicant must pass background checks.