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.
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?
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.
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?