– Scottish Parliament written question – answered at on 14 March 2011.

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Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour

Question S3W-39715

To ask the Scottish Executive what training arrangements there are for (a) dentists and (b) anaesthetists who might require to sign certificates authorising treatment under general anaesthetic on behalf of adults with incapacity.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

Medical practitioners, and this of course includes anaesthetists, have been assessing capacity for the purposes of Part 5 (Medical treatment) of the Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 (the 2000 Act) since that act came into force. Anaesthetists have training on assessing capacity as part of their training to become a doctor so are not specifically required under the 2000 Act to undertake additional training, in terms of signing medical treatment certificates. In practice, it is more likely that an anaesthetist would be working under the authorisation of another medical practitioner in terms of section 47(3) of the 2000 Act, which gives power to any other person who is authorised by the person on whom authority has been conferred to carry out medical treatment and who is acting on his behalf under his/her instructions or with his/her approval or agreement.

When the 2000 Act was amended in 2006 to extend the scope of the range of healthcare professionals who can issue a section 47 certificate of incapacity, to include certain other healthcare professionals such as dentists, the need for additional training for these professionals was recognised. Scottish Ministers were therefore given powers to prescribe requirements that would need to be met by all of these additional healthcare professionals before they could issue certificates. The Adults with Incapacity (Requirements for Signing Medical Treatment Certificates (Scotland) Regulations 2007 therefore require other health professionals such as dentists to have completed and passed the course entitled Adults with Incapacity: Part 5 Amendment – Assessment of Incapacity for Health Professionals. This course was piloted by Edinburgh’s Napier University, who hope, dependent on demand, to run this course again 16 May 2011.

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