National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1978 c. 29

National Health Service(Scotland) Act 1978

1978 CHAPTER 29

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the national health service in Scotland.

[20th July 1978]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Organisation

Part I


Secretary of State

Secretary of State

S-1 General duty of Secretary of State.

1 General duty of Secretary of State.

(1) It shall continue to be the duty of the Secretary of State to promote in Scotland a comprehensive and integrated health service designed to secure—

(a ) improvement in the physical and mental health of the people of Scotland, and

(b ) the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness,

and for that purpose to provide or secure the effective provision of services in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(2) The services so provided shall be free of charge, except in so far as the making and recovery of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment, whenever passed.

Administrative bodies

Administrative bodies

S-2 Health Boards.

2 Health Boards.

(1) The Secretary of State shall by order constitute in accordance with Part I of Schedule 1 boards for such areas as he may by order determine, for the purpose of exercising functions with respect to the administration of such health services provided by him as he may so determine, and for the purpose of making arrangements on his behalf for the provision of the services mentioned in Part II; and those boards shall be called Health Boards.

(2) The order or orders made under subsection (1) determining the areas for which the Health Boards are to be constituted shall be separate from the order or orders constituting those Boards; and, before making any order determining such an area, the Secretary of State shall consult with such bodies and organisations as appear to him to be concerned.

(3) The Secretary of State may by order vary the area of any Health Board, whether or not the variation involves the constitution of a new Board, or the termination of the functions of an existing Board; and, before making such an order, the Secretary of State shall consult with such bodies and organisations as appear to him to be concerned.

(4) Any order under subsection (3) may make provision for any supplementary and incidental matters for which it appears to the Secretary of State to be necessary or expedient to provide, in particular for the transfer of officers and of property and liabilities.

(5) In carrying out the purposes mentioned in subsection (1) each Health Board shall act subject to, and in accordance with, such regulations as may be made, and such directions as may be given, by the Secretary of State; and such regulations and directions may be made or given generally or to meet the circumstances of a particular area or matter.

(6) Regulations under subsection (5) shall make provision requiring each Health Board to submit to the Secretary of State a scheme for the exercise of their functions, and enabling the Secretary of State to approve any such scheme with or without modifications, and to make such a scheme in the event of the failure of any Health Board to do so.

(7) A Health Board may at any time, and if directed by the Secretary of State shall, within such period as he may specify, submit a new scheme for the exercise of their functions, and regulations making the provision mentioned in subsection (6) shall, with any necessary modifications, apply to any such scheme.

(8) A Health Board shall, notwithstanding that it is exercising functions on behalf of the Secretary of State, be entitled to enforce any rights acquired, and shall be liable in respect of any liabilities incurred (including liability in damages for wrongful or negligent acts or omissions), in the exercise of those functions in all respects as if the Health Board were acting as a principal; and all proceedings for the enforcement of such rights or liabilities shall be brought by or against the Health Board in its own name.

(9) A Health Board shall not be entitled to claim in any proceedings any privilege of the Crown in respect of the recovery or production of documents; but this subsection shall be without prejudice to any right of the Crown to withhold, or procure the withholding from production of, any document on the ground that its disclosure would be contrary to the public interest.

(10) Schedule 1 shall have effect in relation to the Boards constituted under this section.

(11) Where it appears to the Secretary of State to be expedient in the interests of efficiency that a joint committee should be established for the areas of two or more Health Boards for the purpose of exercising some but not all of their functions, the Secretary of State may by order constitute such a joint committee and provide for the exercise by that committee of such of those functions as may be specified in the order, and for the application, with such modifications as may be so specified, to that committee of any provisions of this Act relating to those functions, and for any of the matters for which, in relation to a Health Board, provision is or may be made by or under Part II of Schedule 1.

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