A north-east health board could be legally liable if its staff encounter problems when volunteering oversees, it has been claimed.
NHS Grampian board member Jonathan Passmore expressed concern at a board meeting as members decided to “develop support arrangements” for staff volunteering overseas.
He believes the board could encounter problems if things go wrong for volunteers.
A report said NHS Grampian staff have volunteered in countries such as Malawi, India and Tanzania in their own time.
The report sought to “provide a more cohesive and co-ordinated approach, and infrastructure to support volunteers”.
Mr Passmore, a former soldier, said he supported the idea of volunteering but added: “I spent quite a bit of my working life rescuing people and I find this report naive.
“Once we encourage (volunteering) we become liable for things we are doing when we are asking people to go to the rest of the world.
“I’ve been to 98 different countries and in not one of them have I felt as safe as I am in Scotland.
“A report that comes here that suggests we are going to provide advice, guidance, logistics and support opens up a legal liability without (documentation) that explains how we deal with it legally as an organisation, and I cannot support it.”
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The Scottish Government’s senior policy manager Kerry Chalmers said: “This was about how we support people who are doing volunteering and guide them towards best practice and risk management.
“We’re not sending people – they are volunteering.”
The board’s chairwoman Dr Lynda Lynch said she agreed with that distinction.
She added that the board would ask for clarification on NHS Grampian’s legal liability when offering advice to volunteers.