Patient Safety Commissioner for Scotland Bill Advisory Group minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 30 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Donna O’Boyle
  • Charlie Bethune
  • Rosemary Agnew
  • Alison Britton
  • Lynsey Cleland
  • Susan Cole
  • Innes Connor
  • Claire Goodheir Curtis
  • Ross Cunningham
  • Claire Daisley
  • Aileen Lawrie
  • Marie Lyon
  • Emma Mackay
  • Lisa Megginson 
  • Sharon Mercado 
  • Ian Somerville
  • Bill Wright 
  • Fiona Brennan
  • Jenny Hunt


  • Julie Campbell
  • Gordon Johnston
  • Irene Oldfather
  • Will Wood

Items and actions


  • welcome, introductions and apologies
  • run-through of summary of legislative proposals
  • discussion of proposals    
  • summing up/next steps
  • any other business (AOB)    

Welcome, introductions and apologies

Donna O’Boyle welcomed attendees to the meeting and noted apologies. 

Run-through of summary proposals

A paper summarising the proposed Patient Safety Commissioner role was circulated in advance of the meeting. Jenny Hunt gave a short presentation about the content of the paper.


Donna O’Boyle opened the floor for questions and discussion.

Attendees asked about likely timescales for the Bill and when the Commissioner would be in post, commenting that the process seemed slow. JENNY HUNT explained that the Bill would be introduced in the next year but that the relevant Scottish Parliament Committee would ultimately determine the timescales.

Attendees agreed on the need for the Bill to clearly define key terms and to feature the importance of the patient voice, something that had been emphasised in previous discussions. Attendees commented that it was important not to lose sight of the fact that the existing patient safety landscape does not work for patients and that the patient voice is too often lost sight of. 

Attendees discussed the complexity of the patient safety landscape and the fact that patients often do not know where to go to raise complaints. Attendees agreed that it was important clarity was provided from the outset as to how the Commissioner would interact with other patient safety bodies, and where boundaries between organisations would lie. 

Some attendees felt that the Commissioner’s principles should include signposting appropriate routes to address.

Some attendees felt that the Commissioner should start by examining the subject matter of the Cumberlege Review before expanding their focus later. Scottish Government attendees explained that the Commissioner’s remit is broader than the topics in the Cumberlege Review in order to give the Commissioner complete independence and flexibility as to which topics they wish to consider.

There were questions about how the Commissioner would be recruited. Scottish Government attendees confirmed the recruitment would be organised by the Scottish Parliament.

There was a brief discussion about how the Commissioner’s powers would work. Attendees stressed the importance of these powers having sufficient ‘teeth’, including that there should be a clear timeline for organisations to respond to recommendations made by the Commissioner. Scottish Government attendees confirmed that this would be covered in the Bill.

It was noted that the group still had outstanding questions about timescales and patient representation, but that it was broadly recognised that taking time to get the detail right was important. 

Next steps 

Jenny Hunt briefly outlined next steps for the Bill, noting that there was a limited amount the Scottish Government could say publicly before introduction of the Bill to Parliament, but that after introduction the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee would issue a Call for Evidence. She went on to say that there would be opportunities throughout the process for advisory group members to speak to their MSPs and to involve themselves more generally in consultation and engagement around the Bill. 

Any other business

No other matters were discussed. Donna O’Boyle thanked the group for their contributions and reminded members that they could contact the Scottish Government policy team at any time.


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