Lothian and Borders Police in Scotland has contracted its forensic medical services out to Lothian primary care trust.

It is the first force in the UK to follow a recommendation made two years ago in a national review by the Audit Commission that an NHS organisation manage such services, previously provided mainly through an arrangement between police forces and doctors acting on a self-employed basis.

Three English forces have already contracted out their police surgeon services. West Midlands and West Yorkshire use the private GP deputising firm Healthcall, and Wiltshire employs a consortium of its existing service providers.

But a spokesperson for Lothian trust said: 'We can bring our experience of managing contracts and we can provide the training, auditing and monitoring systems that we already have in place for our other services.'

In Lothian and Borders the existing team of seven doctors will continue in their role as police surgeons under a new regime, led by medical director Dr David Cochran. He said: 'This will mean enhanced clinical standards, a chance of greater team development and better access to specialist services such as forensic psychiatrists.'