Outraged parents undermined by ‘state guardian’ speak up

Parents who were told their child’s private medical reports would be shared with a state-employed named person have spoken against plans to roll out the scheme across Scotland by 2016.

Earlier this week the Scottish Daily Mail and the Scottish Daily Express published the family’s ordeal on its front pages sparking fresh outrage against the Scottish Government’s plans.

James and Rhianwen McIntosh were sent a letter by NHS Forth Valley in which a paediatric consultant wrote: “We are now required to inform the named person for your child if your child fails to attend an appointment.”

The letter also said: “In addition we may also send them copies of future relevant reports.”

Shocked

Holyrood passed a Bill to assign a state-employed named person to every child in Scotland, but the McIntoshes were shocked to discover the policy was already being used by the NHS, despite the legislation not coming into effect until 2016.

They do not know who the named person is for any of their children, and have not been given the choice to opt out of the programme.

Mrs McIntosh said: “I love my child better than anyone else and so for the Government to tell me that I needed someone who knew better about my child to see to their wellbeing, that was really quite belittling to me as a parent.”

Consent

And Mr McIntosh commented: “The whole fundamental principle of consent seems to have been done away with, swept underneath the carpet.

“We’re concerned as parents that as parents our role is being undermined, that there is an implicit lack of trust that we are the best people to bring our children up.”

“It does seem to be a little bit big brother and our concern is that it could be the beginning of a real slippery slope where a lot more is undermined and that if families, if couples, if parents disagree with what the state decides is right where does that leave us?”

Judicial review

The Christian Institute is planning to challenge the named person scheme in the courts, through a judicial review.

Leading human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC said the plans appear to be “predicated on the idea that the proper primary relationship that children will have for their well-being and development, nurturing and education is with the State rather than within their families and with their parents”.

He said the scheme has the potential to “cut across” the rights of parents.

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