Date lodged: 16 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how many physicians there are involved in forensic medical examinations for sexual crime, broken down by gender.
Answered by: Michael Matheson 30 January 2018
The Scottish Government does not hold this information centrally.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) report on the provision of forensic medical services, states that as of March 2017, there are 81 doctors across Scotland who undertake the role of forensic physician, 63 of whom are involved in the forensic medical examinations of adults and children. Of these, 19 are women.
In December 2017, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, commissioned by the Scottish Government, published the first Healthcare and Forensic Medical Services Standards for people who have experienced rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse. Standard 2 is focused on NHS boards providing person centred and trauma informed care – this includes providing people with the opportunity to request the gender of the forensic examiner who will be involved in their care.
The Scottish Government has established a Taskforce for the improvement of services for adults and children who have experienced rape and sexual assault, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. As set out in the Taskforce’s five year work plan, key priorities include increasing the number of (particularly female) forensic physicians who are able to carry out this work and developing a consistent, national data set (in line with Standard 5 of the national standards). The Scottish Government has commissioned National Services Scotland to develop the national data set.
The Scottish Government has also committed funding of £0.25m in the current financial year and a further £2m in 2018-19 to support Health Boards to embed the new standards and to drive immediate improvements in this area – informed by the priorities set out in the work plan.
The Taskforce’s 5 year work plan can be accessed here: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/rape-and-sexual-assault-victims-taskforce-high-level-work-plan/High%20Level%20Work%20Plan.pdf?inline=true
The HIS standards can be accessed here: http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/personcentred_care/resources/sexual_assault_services.aspx .