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Patient Safety Reports Going Unpublished

Patient Safety Reports Going Unpublished

June 25, 2021

Information on patient safety is seemingly being suppressed in confidential hospital reports, a BBC investigation has discovered.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC showed that of 111 reports, written by medical or surgical Royal Colleges, only 26 had been shared in full with regulators and only 16 were published openly, for patients or families of injured or deceased patients to read.

Review of care identified concerns

Following the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal in 2015, the NHS has a duty to share the outcome of external safety reviews with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Dr Bill Kirkup, who published the independent investigation into Morecambe Bay maternity services , said that BBC’s Panorama’s findings were a “great disappointment.”

“People should know that there is something that is important enough to be looked at and they should know what the results of that scrutiny are. I can’t understand what the rationale would be for withholding the existence of a report or the findings of the report. These are important matters of accountability in the public service.”

Why are the findings on patient safety not shared?

Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor, Darren Tamplin-Compton, commented: “That Trusts are not legally obliged to disclose reports concerning patient safety to the regulator is as dismaying as it is unhelpful. That the CQC does not have the legal power to compel Trusts to share such reports or to force a Trust to implement Royal College recommendations seems simply perverse. Why would a Trust go to the trouble of seeking expert assessment and then not, openly, publish the findings and recommendations?”

Dr Kirkup said that a legal duty may have to be placed on Trusts compelling them to disclose Royal College reviews.

Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of AvMA, the patient safety and justice charity, tweeted “This secrecy and failure to act on Royal College recommendations is disgraceful. It should be made a legal requirement to publish such reports; action plans to implement the recommendations and to share all of this with the regulator.”

Panorama: Hospital Secrets Uncovered was aired on BBC One and can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer.

The full BBC news article may be viewed here.

Darren Tamplin-Compton is Senior Solicitor and Team Leader within Fletchers Medical Negligence Serious Injury Department.

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