Health Service Structure

The South Eastern HSC Trust is part of a wider health service family.  This page explains who the various organisations are, their role, and how they fit together to provide public health and social care services to people in Northern Ireland.


Health and Social Care (HSC)

In Northern Ireland, the National Health Service (NHS) is referred to as HSC or Health and Social Care. Just like the NHS,  it is free at the point of delivery but  in Northern Ireland it also provides social care services like home care services, family and children's services, day care services and social work services.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public safety has overall authority for health and social care services.
Services are commissioned by the Health and Social Care Board and provided by five Health and Social Care Trusts - Belfast, South Eastern, Southern, Northern and Western.

The sixth Trust is the NI Ambulance Trust who provide ambualnce services.


Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)

With overall authority, and allocation of government funding the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for Northern Ireland (DHSSPS) is one of 11 Northern Ireland Government Departments created in 1999 as part of the Northern Ireland Executive. 

Health and Social Care is one of the three main business responsibilities of the Department which are:

  • Health and Social Care (HSC), which includes policy and legislation for hospitals, family practitioner services and community health and personal social services;
  • Public Health, which covers policy, legislation and administrative action to promote and protect the health and well-being of the population; and
  • Public Safety, which covers policy and legislation for fire and rescue services.

Read more about the DHSSPS


Health and Social Care Board (HSCB)

The Health and Social Care Board sits between the Department and Trusts and is responsible for commissioning services, managing resources and performance improvement.

The Board is also directly responsible for managing contracts for Family health services provided by GPs, dentists, opticians and community pharmacists.  These are all services not provided by Health and Social Care Trusts.

Inside the Board there are Local Commissioning Groups (LCGs) focusing on the planning and resourcing of services.  The LCGs cover the same geographical area as the five Health and Social Care Trusts.

Read more about the Health and Social Care Board


Public Health Agency (PHA)

The Public Health Agency has the key functions of improving health and wellbeing and health protection. It is also jointly responsible (with the HSCB) for the development of a fully integrated commissioning plan for the health and social care of Northern Ireland.

Read more about the Public Health Agency


HSC Trusts

View a map of the 4 Trusts in Northern IrelandSouth Eastern Trust is one of 5 Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts which provide health and social services across Northern Ireland. While the Board commissions services, it’s the Trusts that actually provide them ‘on the ground’.  Each Trust manages their own staff and services and controls its own budget.

The other 4 Trusts in Northern Ireland are:
• Northern Trust
• Belfast Trust
• Southern Trust
• Western Trust