Patients in Scotland will be invited for the first time to take part in a major research initiative which is aiming to improve the early detection of conditions ranging from dementia to cancer. 

Our Future Health, expected to be the UK's largest ever medical trial, will launch pop-up clinics at 45 locations across Scotland over the coming year, with the first due to open on June 25. 

The first sites will operate at Boots stores in Ayr, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Glasgow Fort, Greenock, Irvine, Kirkcaldy, and The Gyle shopping centre in Edinburgh. 

The programme - which is being run in partnership with the NHS - is writing to people living in areas within the vicinity of the new clinics, inviting them to take part. 


However, anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in taking part can also sign up online through the Our Future Health website and they will be notified when appointments become available. 

Volunteers will be asked to complete an online health questionnaire before attending the clinics to provide a blood sample, have some physical measurements taken, and be offered information about their own health - including blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

In future volunteers will also be given the option to receive feedback about their risk for some diseases and have the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research studies.

Our Future Health first began recruiting participants in England towards the end of 2022, and has been expanding through region-by-region rollouts.

The project, chaired by the immunologist and geneticist Sir John Bell, is aiming to recruit five million volunteers in total as part of its mission to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of conditions such as dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Clinics will launch at 45 sites across Scotland, including in a number of Boots storesClinics will launch at 45 sites across Scotland, including in a number of Boots stores (Image: Our Future Health)

The goal is to track people over time to improve our ability to predict disease in healthy people and tackle problems before they become serious. 

One of the key findings to date, based on an initial sample size of 100,000, was that a quarter of Brits are not being treated for high blood pressure. 

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, said she was "delighted" to see the initiative arriving in Scotland.

She said: “We know the burden of disease in Scotland is projected to rise by 21% by 2043, which means it is increasingly important that we have access to data that can help inform efforts to address this.

"This programme has the potential to improve health care in Scotland, supporting early detection and prevention, and in turn helping people in Scotland to live in good health for longer.”

The project is backed by a number of major charities. 

Dr Karen Noble, director of research, policy and innovation at one of its partners - Brain Tumour Research - said the rollout of Scottish clinics was an "exciting" development.

She added: “Sustainable and continuous research is key to finding a cure for brain tumours and bringing these clinics to Scotland is a great way to ensure anyone who wishes to support research has the opportunity to do so.

"The information collected from volunteers will help us understand new ways to prevent, detect and fight diseases earlier and could really help to transform the future for patients diagnosed with brain tumours and other diseases.”

There are hopes that the findings of the trial could ease pressure on the NHS by detecting and preventing disease earlierThere are hopes that the findings of the trial could ease pressure on the NHS by detecting and preventing disease earlier

Joseph Carter, head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, said it should mean that the thousands of people with lung conditions living in Scotland will be better represented in future health research.

He said: "In the past two decades there has been little improvement in how we diagnose and treat lung conditions, despite the fact they are the third biggest cause of death.

“This opportunity to use health data for research will help us to better understand lung disease, ultimately leading to better diagnosis, treatment and management.”

Dr Raghib Ali, chief executive and chief medical officer of Our Future Health, said: “We will be inviting people in Scotland to join our programme, giving them the opportunity to learn more about their own health and help to improve the health of everyone in Scotland and reduce inequalities.

"Researchers in Scotland will also be able to apply to use our resource to make new discoveries about diseases, including those that pose significant challenges in Scotland.”