Established on 1 April 2020, Public Health Scotland (PHS) is Scotland’s national public agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people. Our vision is of a Scotland where everybody thrives, with an increased healthy life expectancy and a reduced premature mortality. To achieve this, we will focus our work where we can make the biggest difference to Scotland’s public health challenges: supporting the recovery from COVID-19, communities and place, poverty and children, and mental wellbeing. These four areas form our contribution to Scotland’s public health priorities (external website).

This statement sets out the functions carried out by PHS that are within our public task under the Reuse of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (external website).

What we do

Under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 and associated legislation, such as the Public Health Scotland Order 2019 and the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008, PHS is allocated various public tasks. These include:

  • conducting, contributing to, and managing public health and clinical research through information consultancy, and research and innovation services
  • collecting, managing, analysing and disseminating epidemiological data so as to inform the public and policy makers, and provide evidence of what works to reduce health inequalities
  • working across all sectors in Scotland to put this evidence into action
  • participating in epidemiological investigations
  • providing health education for individuals and communities
  • supporting the ongoing development of a confident and competent public health workforce
  • providing up-to-date health information for the UK public on avoiding illness and staying healthy when travelling abroad
  • engaging in surveillance and monitoring of hazards and exposures affecting people and the impact they have on their health
  • holding a comprehensive library of healthcare management and other information for all NHS Scotland staff
  • co-ordinating national health protection programmes (for example, immunisation)
  • preparing effectively and responding to outbreaks and incidents
  • supporting commissioning specialist/reference laboratory services.

Reuse of PHS information

All information published or disclosed as part of the PHS’s public task is available for under the terms of the Open Government Licence (OGL) v3.0 (external website) and we encourage its use and reuse.

You can make a requests to reuse information we create that falls outside our public task. Please note that there may be a charge for this depending on the nature of the request and the information to be reused.

If you have a complaint about your request to reuse information, you can submit it using our complaints form. If you are not satisfied by this process you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (external website).

Last updated: 18 January 2024
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