Duty of Care to Families

Motion S4M-13578: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour
That the Parliament notes the decision by the High Court in England to strikeout the claim for negligence against an NHS trust for failing to inform the claimant that her father, who had been previously convicted in 2007 of manslaughter after shooting dead the claimant’s mother, was diagnosed in 2009 with Huntington’s disease; further understands that the claimant, being unaware of the risks associated with the possibility of inheriting this condition, had a child in 2010 and learned subsequently by accident of her father’s condition and then tested positive in January 2013; also recognises the value of the report by a joint committee of two royal colleges and the British Society of Human Genetics that said “in special circumstances it may be justified to break confidence where the avoidance of harm by disclosure outweighs the patient’s claim for confidentiality”; believes that a doctor’s duty of care and of candour should extend to providing family members who may be affected with information on a patient in carefully defined circumstances; also believes that these circumstances should include situations where children are being adopted or placed in long-term permanent fostering if a court decides that it is in the interests of the child, and hopes that the Scottish Government will consider this issue in the forthcoming health bill.