Service change resources

Service change resources

What is an option appraisal?

This short animation explains how an option appraisal fits with the wider engagement process as set out in the Scottish Government guidance planning with people. The video was developed in response to feedback we received from people, communities, integrated joint boards and colleagues in health boards.


NHS boards are required to work with people when they are considering changes to health and care services.

The national guidance informing, engaging and consulting people and developing health and community care services outlines the process that boards should follow to involve people in decisions about local services.

When an NHS board is planning to make changes to its services it will often need to consider a number of different options before deciding on the best way forward.

The process is called an option appraisal and can involve a number of events. Option appraisal is part of the engagement phase.

These events bring together different groups of people including service users staff, the public, carers of people potentially affected by the changes. At these events the different groups involved should be represented proportionately and fairly.

This approach helps people to take a fair and balanced view on the options and to listen to each other's views.

The NHS board will provide information on the reasons for change. The optionsand the reasons for them should be developed and agreed by the different groups taking part.

All participants are expected to score the options based on the information available not on personal preference. The scores will help identify the preferred option from this part of the process.

Option appraisal is not a final decision but a recommendation of recommendations that help inform the decision making process.

Last Updated: 23 June 2023