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The Healthcare System in Glasgow

Last updated: 7.58pm, Monday 28th January 2019 by

5th July 1948: NHS Scotland officially begins operating. Over 70 years have passed, and NHS Scotland is still considered as a pioneer in healthcare across the world.

Healthcare in Glasgow has seen much media attention in the past, but here's a breakdown on the health set-up in this glorious city of ours.

The Highlands and Islands Medical System, which had been set-up some 35 years prior to the NHS, was already providing much needed healthcare for over half of Scotland. During wartime, Tom Johnston, who served as Secretary of State for Scotland under Winston Churchill’s coalition government, further developed this system. In 1942, he launched the Clyde Basin project, which would later go on to become a prototype health system. It meant, civilian patients who were facing long waiting times had easier access to see GP’s, and where needed, be referred onto consultants at local hospitals. Scotland now has the UK’s highest ratio of GP’s and hospital doctors per person.

This healthcare system in Glasgow, was soon to be replicated across the British Isles. It is no surprise then that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown would deem Scotland to have led the way for the creation of the National Health Service. 

Local NHS Health Boards

NHS Scotland is now accessible to everyone in Scotland, wherever they may be based. For instance, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) covers; the City of Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, parts of North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire. NHS Shetland covers the Shetland Islands, and NHS Fife covers Fife. NHS Scotland now functions with 14 local NHS Health Boards like these across Scotland. Each geographical Health Board is responsible for improving health outcomes and health services across their local area. Health Boards also have to ensure that services are delivered effectively and efficiently.

Special Health Boards

Local Health Boards are supported by a number of non-geographical, Special Health Boards helping provide national services. Some of these include:

  • NHS Health Scotland, which is tasked with improving the health of the nation through research, planning and programme development. It also looks at providing co-ordination between the 14 Local NHS Health Boards.

  • NHS 24, which operates as an out-of-hours telephone advice and triage service.

  • NHS Education for Scotland is set-out to develop, deliver education and training to those working in NHS Scotland.

In total there are 7 Special Health Boards that support the work of the Local Health Boards.

To drive forward the advancements we have seen in recent times with healthcare in Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland was founded. Healthcare Improvement Scotland, is a public body which ensures the care of our nation is constantly improving.

Healthcare in Glasgow

NHSGGC is the largest NHS organisation in Scotland, serving a population of 1.1 million people with over 39,000 staff. The board is responsible for 35 hospitals, 240 GP practices, 270 Dental practices, 180 Ophthalmic practices, and more than 300 Community Pharmacies. 

The infamous Glasgow effect is being tackled by excellent work from all of these organisations. The pharmaceutical services in Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, are constantly improving. As well as dispensing prescriptions, community pharmacies are helping deliver expert support to local people. The Minor Ailment Service, Public Health Service, Acute Medication Service, and Chronic Medication Service, allow the NHS to fully utilise the clinical expertise of pharmacists. Community pharmacies’ contribution to a multidisciplinary team in health, has meant that access to primary care is now greater than ever before, reducing the pressure and workload on GP practices and other healthcare providers.

Private healthcare in Glasgow

Most of the healthcare in Scotland is being provided by NHS Scotland’s public hospitals. If for some reason the public hospital is not able to offer you with the treatment you require, the NHS may send you to receive treatment from a private hospital at no extra cost. The majority of NHS Scotland’s provisions are paid for through taxation. Private care on the other hand is, in most cases, paid for, either by the individual themselves or private healthcare schemes.  

Sign up to our collection service

At Willis Pharmacy, our highly trained and friendly healthcare teams ensure you have the medicine you need and receive professional advice on medical matters.

Why not sign up for our prescription collection service today? We will contact your GP, collect your prescription, and have it dispensed using our digitally enhanced service, ready to be picked up by you at your own convenience.

Additionally, we can provide you with a free home delivery service at your request if you have difficulties visiting our Glasgow pharmacy. Simply call us today to sign up for our premium services.


This article was written on behalf of Willis Pharmacy by Hassan Riaz from  Pharmacy Mentor.

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