Inspecting and regulating care

By inspecting care we help to ensure that healthcare services are meeting the required standards of care, that good practice is identified and areas for improvement are addressed.

Our inspectors undertake announced and unannounced inspections of healthcare services. These will involve physical inspection of the clinical areas, and interviews with staff and patients. We will publish a written report 8 weeks after the inspection.

  • Announced inspection: the service provider will be given at least 4 weeks’ notice of the inspection by letter or email.
  • Unannounced inspection: the service provider will not be given any advance warning of the inspection.

Independent healthcare

Part of our role is to undertake inspections of independent healthcare services across Scotland. We are also responsible for the registration and regulation of independent healthcare services.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland inspectors check independent healthcare services regularly to make sure that they are complying with necessary standards and regulations. They do this by carrying out assessments and inspections.

Care of older people

Healthcare Improvement Scotland measures NHS boards against a range of standards, best practice statements and other national documents relevant to the care of older people in acute hospitals.

Our inspections focus on the three national quality ambitions for NHSScotland, which ensure that the care provided to patients is person-centred, safe and effective.

The inspections ensure that older people are being treated with compassion, dignity and respect while they are in an acute hospital.

Safety and cleanliness

Each year, the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) carries out at least thirty safety and cleanliness inspections across NHSScotland hospitals and services.

Although most of our inspections are to acute hospitals, we also inspect community and non-acute hospitals.

We publish all our inspection reports from each area of inspection on our website.

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Published resources

Browse all our inspection reports in date order:


Independent healthcare
Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Latest inspection report: Bethesda Hospice
28 July 2014


Care of older people NHS staff member and older patient laughing
Latest inspection report: University Hospital Ayr
29 July 2014


HEI: safety and cleanliness HEI
Latest inspection report: Falkirk Community Hospital
21 July 2014