Planning ahead in healthcare

Improving existing healthcare services, or planning new ones, is challenging. It’s important that all options are thought through closely- and that’s where NHS Scotland National Planning comes in.  

It’s a collaborative programme that works alongside the National Digital, Infrastructure, Finance and Workforce boards to take a holistic view to planning future care. The team, which was set up within the NSS National Services Division (NSD), provides specialist expertise across planning, public health, data, intelligence and economics.

We caught up with National Planning Board chairs, Angiolina Foster, the Chief Executive (CE) for NHS 24, and Caroline Lamb, the CE for NES, to find out a bit more about National Planning’s own ideas for the foreseeable future.

Caroline Lamb and Angiolina Foster


What are the most important reasons we need to plan for the future at NHS Scotland?

“Planning is key to ensuring that we’re able to manage service pressures and provide high-quality, safe services within the resources available to us. It’s important at a local, regional and national level. The work of the National Planning Board aims to ensure that we have a proactive and well thought out approach to services that should be provided or coordinated nationally.”

How far into the future does National Planning go?

“We’re trying to take a 10 year horizon, however the truth is that some issues are more pressing!”

NHS Scotland has always moved forward, but what will make the National Planning process different?

“This is an opportunity to genuinely collaborate and think together, at a level that is truly for Scotland.”

What are your hopes for National Planning?

“We’re hoping for real engagement from all parties to develop a strong vision, and then to work together to implement that vision.”

The year is 2024- what do you hope that National Planning will have achieved for NHS Scotland?

“A compelling vision, with full support from everyone, that’s underway and generating real improvement for the people of Scotland.”

For more information on National Planning, please visit

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