Understanding the policy context

When reading about health policy, it is vital that you remember that health policy is a devolved responsibility. The overall aim of health and social care policy in Scotland is to improve health. However, when you are busy caring for patients/clients, health policy may not be the first thing that springs to mind as being important, but everyone has a role in developing policy.

Is it important to understand health policy?

As the introduction to this section stated:

  • there are a wide range of healthcare policies that influence how NHS Scotland provides person -centred care and treatment, and ultimately your day-to-day work.
  • health policy is a devolved responsibility, meaning that the elected government in Scotland will create the policy context for the people of Scotland

Find out more about this from the Scottish Government and BBC websites.

Thinking critically about the interface between policy and your work, what are the key messages for you?  Record these for your portfolio.

Is it relevant in Scotland?

Review 1 or 2 different pieces of information provided in the media about health policy. This could be a TV news bulletin, newspaper article, internet news site, or professional publication.


  • if it is explicit which UK country or countries are being discussed
  • whether you think that what is being said is applicable in Scotland
  • the aspects that you think may be applicable in Scotland, even if they are not directly applicable in Scotland
  • why you think that this is the case, e.g. research or statistics about medical conditions quoted

Critically reflect on how health issues are reported in the general and professional media and how what is reported may or may not apply to healthcare in Scotland. Record your reflections for your portfolio and consider what specific changes or information you will look for when you read about health issues in future as a result of what you have learned.

If you want to find out more about research that can influence health policy, see the Health and Community Care Research page on the Scottish Government website.