Mistakes in Healthcare

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 2018.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives 12:00 am, 24th July 2018

What steps his Department is taking to support families and patients affected by mistakes made in the healthcare system.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Families and patients are at the heart of our work to improve patient safety, which is why all NHS organisations are subject to a statutory duty of candour and should be open and transparent with patients and families when things go wrong. Last week, the National Quality Board published new guidance for NHS trusts to help them better support, communicate and engage with bereaved families and carers.

Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives

I thank the Minister for that response, but since I was elected three years ago I have come across several examples of families who have lost loved ones who went to hospital for repeat interventions from the health service, yet died from undiagnosed conditions, many of which could have been avoided. The problem is that those families have found getting answers and finding anyone to accept responsibility fruitless, so what more can the Department do to help them?

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

My hon. Friend is right to raise that issue. Those who have lost loved ones in that way need answers when things go wrong. The recent bereavement guidance is clear that, when notified of a death, families and carers should be told that they can comment on the care of the person who has died and raise any concerns. From next year, medical examiners will offer greater scrutiny for the bereaved, increasing transparency and offering them the opportunity to raise concerns.

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

In a recent report, Healthwatch Greenwich drew attention to the fact that many local GP practices are still wrongly refusing to register patients, often vulnerable ones, unless they have ID or proof of address. What more can the Minister do to ensure that each and every GP practice is following the Department’s guidance?

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that question, and I will certainly look more closely at the issue.