From the 1st April 2016 and following consultation between BMA UK, RCGP UK, various shooting organisations, Police Scotland, Information Commissioners Office, Scottish Government and others there will be an encoded reminder placed on all applicants medical records showing that they are certificate holders. Any change during the lifetime of the certificate involving certain medical issues will be reported to the Police. Some of the more salient points are highlighted below.
· Police will contact the relevant GP’s/GP Practice when an applicant requests a Firearms/Shotgun Certificate or a renewal of the certificate. i.e. There will be a pre-grant letter from the Police – Consent given from last renewal which lasts the term of your certificate.
· NHS GP patient records will have Clinical Codes and Terms added to indicate that the individual has a Firearms/Shotgun when the pre grant letter is sent, so that it is clear to a GP that an individual has a Firearms/Shotgun Certificate.
· The decision whether to Grant, Renew or Revoke a certificate remains a matter for the Police
· Should a certificate not be granted, revoked, cancelled or lapses the Police will notify the GP’s/GP Practice in order for the clinical record be updated with the Clinical Codes and Terms to indicate the individual no longer holds a Firearms/Shotgun Certificate.
· Beyond the initial letter, additional costs will be met by the Applicant or Police depending on the level of medical information/report required. Any fees charged vary between GP’S and Practices.
· New application forms address the issues of informed consent to enable the GP to share relevant clinical information as appropriate as well as during the duration of the certificates.
· There will be electronic transfer of information between GP’s/GP Practices
Police Scotland will send letters to all applicants GP’s and this will go some way in determining the outcome of the application, it also speeds the application process up at the same time. The Police have a duty of care not only to the applicant but to the general peace of the public and their safety.
Some of the medical conditions that are mentioned include
· Acute Stress Reaction or am acute reaction to the stress caused by trauma
· Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
· Depression or Anxiety
· Mania, Bipolar disorder or a psychotic illness
· A personality disorder
· A neurological condition, e.g. MS, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease or Epilepsy
· Alcohol or Drug abuse
· Any other mental or physical condition which may affect the safe possession of Firearms
· Any other conditions involving a certificate holder where the holder has not contacted the GP personally i.e. Domestic Violence