REPORT OF THE EXPERT GROUP ON FINANCIAL AND OTHER SUPPORT
When the Group was set up, it was directed to make any preliminary recommendations by the end of July 2002, and to forward any final recommendations by the end of December 2002.
In the event, its preliminary recommendations were not submitted to the Minister for Health and Community Care until November 2002. Given the complexity of the issues raised by its Remit, this was not surprising. The delay in submitting its final Report with recommendations is largely due to the fact that when the Minister was giving evidence to the Health and Community Care Committee following on the presentation of the Group's preliminary report, he raised certain questions relating to devolved and reserved powers. The Group requested clarification of this matter, and this was provided by the Minister on 10 January 2003. Further elaboration was supplied by the Minister when he appeared before the Health and Community Care Committee on 20 January 2003. The issues raised by the Minister have not yet been resolved, but the Group does not consider that it should further delay the completion of its report and recommendations. The Group for its part does not believe that there are any sound legal objections to what it has proposed.
The Group is conscious that it has not succeeded in discovering a general principle covering all cases where it would be appropriate for financial and other support to be provided for people who had been harmed by NHS treatment in Scotland in circumstances where there was unlikely to be liability on the part of NHS Scotland, and believes that when cases arise in the future they can only be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
The Group believes that its recommendations go a long way towards meeting the terms of its remit, and is satisfied that they merit careful consideration by the Scottish Executive. It is disappointed that the Minister has not as yet agreed to implement its recommendations in relation to Hepatitis C, and hopes that he will give the matter further consideration. The Group also believes that its other recommendations, if implemented, should improve the current dispute and compensation mechanisms in Scotland.
The Group wishes to express its warm thanks to its special advisers, Peter Beaton, Chris Naldrett, Ross Scott and Bob Stock, and to its secretariat headed by the indefatigable Moira Milligen who, with Kate McLaughlin, has ensured that the Group was provided with all the information and papers it required.
Donald M Ross
Chairman, Expert Group