SACKED or disgruntled NHS Scotland staff are almost automatically subject to confidentiality agreements, said Scotland's top health official.

All but one of the 148 settlement agreements signed since 2011/12 contained the clauses and the majority of the 697 from the last five years probably did too, NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray said.

Settlement agreements set out the terms of a termination of employment or a dispute resolution, and can include confidentiality agreements which make it illegal to reveal these terms.

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Health Secretary Alex Neil is reviewing confidentiality clauses in NHS Scotland to ensure they do not "hide what should be transparent", he said.

It comes amid concerns that "gagging clauses" were used to suppress problems in English health boards.