1. This guidance has been produced by the Scottish Government to help support the involvement of GPs in adult protection. It is designed to ensure that GPs are part of local multi-agency arrangements for adult protection and are thereby enabled to:
- fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 20071 ('the 2007 Act')
- make a broader contribution to adult protection beyond that required by statute
2. The guidance is for people who are involved in the management of adult protection across Scotland, whatever their professional affiliation, and it is for GPs themselves.
3. Section 1 provides an overview of the framework for the multi-agency arrangements enshrined in the 2007 Act and offers advice on how GPs might be included within the management structures of these networks. A collaborative approach is vital and GP involvement invaluable when developing and/or refining local adult protection policy, procedure and strategy to ensure statutory obligations can be met and adult protection delivered effectively. However, this guidance is not intended to be a substitute or replacement for locally agreed arrangements already in place. Rather it is to guide thinking and encourage consistency in the overall approach to GP involvement in multi-agency arrangements for adult protection across Scotland.
4. Section 2 sets out the main ways GPs may come into contact with the 2007 Act and considers the issues this raises, such as the benefit of having local adult protection policies which cover the range of interested professionals and the duty GPs have in regard to patient confidentiality.
5. While it is hoped this section will be useable and useful to those involved in the management of adult protection it is aimed primarily at informing GPs themselves, as well as their colleagues in primary care teams and others involved in GP activity, such as practice managers, Local Medical Committees and the BMA. For these people, it will aid understanding of the wider context for adult protection, including the network of interests involved, and provide guidance on the key issues adult protection raises for them.
6. An overview of the 2007 Act is provided at Annex A. In addition, a flowchart highlighting the key actions that GPs must take when responding to possible adult protection cases, and exploring the decisions that may need to be taken along the way, is provided at Annex C.
7. In addition, NHS Circular PCA(M)(2009)12, issued by the Scottish Government in September 2009, continues to be relevant and is provided at Annex B. This sets out that Health Boards, and those working with them providing an NHS service, have a range of duties under the 2007 Act. These include:
- co-operating in investigating suspected or actual harm
- reporting the facts and circumstances of a case to the council where they know, or believe, that a person is an adult at risk, and that protective action is needed
- co-operating with a council making inquiries and with other public bodies where that would assist the council
Email: Susan Edmondson