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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06543: Maree Todd (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 25 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration is being given to specific circumstances in Orkney and Shetland as part of NHS Scotland’s review of forensic examination services, and how services there compare to services in other rural and island communities.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 1 February 2017

We accept there are real challenges in helping deliver the minimum standards across Scotland and these challenges can often be more difficult in island and rural locations. However someone who has been the victim of rape in an island community has the same rights to access to justice as a victim of rape anywhere else. This is why we are working with NHS partners and others to help identify a solution to ensure that forensic examinations are carried out appropriately and sensitively as part of the patient’s overall care whilst guarding against undue delays which could compromise evidence.

Work has already been taken forward by the Co-ordinating Network for HealthCare and Forensic Medical Services for people in Police Care to assess all Boards against the Minimum Standards for forensic examinations for victims of this type of crime. In addition, we have funded a specific post within the National Specialist and Screening Services Directorate in NHS Scotland to work with NHS colleagues and accelerate the pace of work in implementing Minimum Standards. This includes looking at specific issues that areas may face and reporting to the Scottish Government where improvements and changes need to be made.