We use independent professional advisers when looking at some of our complaints.
Our professional advisers provide us with independent advice on health matters, including specialist advisers in: medicine, midwifery, mental health, obstetrics and gynaecology, dentistry, nursing, psychiatry and GP services. There are also advisers who specialise in social work, planning, equalities, environmental health and water services.
Our advisers are experienced professionals with relevant and current expertise in their field of practice. They are all registered with their professional body or regulator and are selected on the basis of their knowledge and skills. Advisers receive induction and training for their role from us. and attend an annual seminar as part of their continuing professional development. The advice they provide is subject to quality assurance checks.
Most of our advisers are based in Scotland. The benefit of this is that they are fully aware of the Scottish context, which can be different from other parts of the UK. It also allows us to get advice directly and quickly. In health cases, we also sometimes use the English Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s panel of clinical advisers, most usually where we don’t have an adviser with a particular specialism.
Advisers provide us with independent expert advice on what, in their professional judgement, it was reasonable to expect in the circumstances of a case. They explain technical terms and information and point us to relevant guidance and legislation.
The Ombudsman (and her investigators acting on her authority) are responsible for making decisions about complaints. We will take the advice we receive from our advisers into account along with all other relevant evidence and information.