The offices of the National Health Service Central Register were formally opened on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries today.
Plans to relocate NHSCR were first announced in November 2004 as part of the Executive's policy to transfer jobs out of Edinburgh to allow other parts of Scotland to enjoy the benefits of devolution.
Deputy Public Service Reform Minister Tavish Scott said:
"In November, I promised that the NHSCR would be set up in Dumfries in the Spring. I am delighted to return and see that promise realised.
"The NHSCR is a small but vital unit which plays an important role in the running of the NHS. People who move between Health Board areas, or migrate to or from other parts of Britain, depend on it to ensure that the right medical records are transferred.
"It plays an important part in medical research - for example by keeping track, with their consent, of patients who are part of studies into the causes of cancer and other medical research. And it is our main source of information about migration within the UK.
"This relocation has helped spread the benefits of public sector jobs in Scotland and given Dumfries a real boost by utilising the skills and talent of local people to deliver this key service.
"Thirteen of the 16-strong unit have been recruited in Dumfries, and one further member will be recruited next year. So this has already been an important jobs boost for the town. The new staff is currently receiving training in the specialised work of the NHSCR. To avoid disrupting the service to NHS clients, the Dumfries office will progressively take over the work of the unit until March 2006, when the Edinburgh base will close.
"Bringing the devolved government of Scotland closer to the people remains one of our key ambitions and relocating public sector jobs is one way to achieve this. The Executive aims to ensure all of Scotland - particularly areas of social or economic need - benefits from the location of public sector jobs.
"Relocation has already delivered - around 1,400 jobs have been moved - and the relocation of the NHSCR is further evidence of our continuing commitment to the policy."
The NHSCR was originally located in Edinburgh since its establishment in the 1950s. Its main purpose is to ensure that patients' medical record envelopes move with them as they transfer between health board areas, migrate to or from other parts of the UK or join the armed forces.
It is also used, with the consent of patients, for research projects which depend on keeping track of individual patients - particularly studies which involve people employed in particular industry, resident in a certain area, or who have received certain forms of treatment.
The new staff has been recruited from other government departments and one member of staff has transferred from Edinburgh. One vacancy will be filled next year.