We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site


Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report 2014-15

Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report 2014-15

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ISBN: 9781785449475

The Chief Medical Officer Annual Report 2014 -2015 explores the challenges that face doctors today.

Executive Summary

Managing risk in healthcare is a universal challenge for doctors and other

professionals. Doctors tread a difficult path, with the expectation that they will

make robust decisions balanced against criticisms of being overly paternalistic.

There is risk associated with every clinical decision, whether it is to do something,

or do nothing. Beyond risk factors identified by statistical analysis there is no

substitute for clinical experience. An early sign in burn out of doctors is their

reduced ability to tolerate the anxiety of making risky decisions.

Good risk management is also dependent on communication of risk with other


Changing our Practice to Support Improvement

Scotland’s medical staff, working with all our colleagues in health and social care,

continue to be at the forefront of the wide range of improvements in the safety,

effectiveness and quality of care and treatment within our National Health


Improvements in the quality of care are often dependent upon having the right

conditions in place – positive relationships with colleagues, a learning culture and

an understanding of tried and tested ways of implementing change in complex


We should be focusing completely and relentlessly on what matters most to the

people who look to them for care, support and treatment.