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The National Health Services (NHS) in Scotland is the main provider of primary and acute health care.
Care is organised at a local level by Health Boards, which oversee the delivery of services. Primary care includes the General Practitioner (GP) service, most mental health services, rehabilitation, most non-acute geriatric services and the community nursing service. Acute services cover, for example, surgery and specialist medical care such as cancer treatment. In rural Scotland, most Health Boards have a single acute hospital in their region wherEas those serving large, urbanised areas, such as Lothian, contain more than one.
The health and social care of older people across Scotland follows a fairly standard pattern. The first point of contact is usually the GP who will refer an individual to an appropriate support service where necessary.
The GP is the central member of the 'primary care team,' a team of professionals from various health disciplines who work from a GP surgery or health centre. Other members of the team may include the district nurse, health visitor, practice nurse, community psychiatric nurse, chiropodist, therapists, social worker, receptionist and medical secretary. GPs are independent, self-employed doctors who have a contract with the Health Board to provide services within the NHS.
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