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Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008

Medical examinations

Section 33 Application to have person medically examined

61.This section deals with applications to the sheriff for orders to have a person medically examined. A health board may make such an application where it knows or suspects that a person in its area has an infectious disease; has been exposed to an infectious organism which causes such a disease; is contaminated or has been exposed to a contaminant and it appears to the health board that as a result there is, or may be, a significant risk to public health and it is necessary, to avoid or minimise that risk, for the person to be medically examined.

62.Subsection (3) outlines the matters which need to be specified in the application to the sheriff which include the nature of the examination the health board proposes to be carried out, why the health board considers it necessary, who will carry out the examination and whether an explanation has been provided. All applications must include a certificate from a health board competent person that the criteria set out in subsection (1) have been met.

Section 34 Order for medical examination

63.This section sets out the circumstances in which a sheriff may grant an order authorising a health care professional to medically examine the person to whom the application under section 33 relates. Subsection (1) requires the sheriff to be satisfied with the matters in subsection (2). Those include the fact than an explanation under section 31 was given, or, where no such explanation was given, it was not reasonably practicable to do so. Subsection (4) states that a medical examination authorised under this section must be carried out within 7 days of the order being made. Subsection (5)(a) states that if an appeal is made (under section 60(1)) before the medical examination is carried out, the order is suspended, and no account is taken of the period during which the order is suspended in calculating the 7 days within which the medical examination must take place. The order must specify the person to whom it applies and the class or classes of health care professional who will carry out the examination. “Health care professional” is defined in section 33(4). The sheriff may also make provision in the order about such other matters as the sheriff considers appropriate (subsection (3)). The order must be notified to the person to whom it applies and be notified to any person to whom an explanation was given under section 31 and any other person the sheriff considers appropriate.

Section 35 Medical examination: least invasive and least intrusive procedures

64.Subsection (1) sets out that a health care professional authorised to undertake a medical examination under section 34 must not use invasive or intrusive procedures unless they are necessary to achieve the purpose for which the examination is being carried out. However, if that professional needs to carry out such procedures, the least invasive and least intrusive procedures practicable must be used.

65.Subsection (2) lists the medical procedures which are not considered to be invasive for this Part of the Act.

Section 36 Medical examination of groups

66.Subsection (1) states that where a health board is satisfied that the conditions relating to the need for a medical examination of a person have been met and the person is one of a group of two or more persons, the health board may apply to the sheriff for an order relating to all of the persons in the group and for each member of the group to be medically examined.

67.Under subsection (2), the competent person must certify that it is necessary, to avoid or minimise an actual or anticipated risk to public health, for all the persons in the group to be medically examined. The sheriff may grant the order in relation to the group if the conditions relating to the need for a medical examination apply in relation to at least one member of the group. The rules in sections 31(3) to (5) in relation to giving explanations for actions apply to each person in a group in the same way as they apply to individuals.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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