It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship this morning, Mr Gray. I thank Cherilyn Mackrory for securing today’s debate and the compelling way she spoke both today and in the debate last November. I was not present for that debate, but I read it over the weekend. I never thought that reading Hansard would bring a tear to my eye, but the way that she and many other Members spoke in that debate was incredibly moving and powerful. Today, she said some very important things that we all need to reflect on. She talked about the staff who cared for her during her difficult times, and she used the words “kindness, compassion and professionalism”, which are absolutely the qualities that we need in our NHS workforce in this particularly sensitive area. We should all put on record our thanks to those who do incredible work in incredibly difficult circumstances.
The hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth also mentioned the Select Committee report and noted that progress had been good, but it was from a low base. As a number of Members said, variation still exists across the country. The hon. Member talked about her six priorities. A number of Members talked about some of them, but she set out clearly where we need to do more about staffing the shortfalls. She made an important point about providing not just training, but the back-filling of positions while staff go on training. She also made an important point about parents’ involvement and engagement with such issues, because those who have been through awful experiences have the best input to give us on how to make it a little easier for those who have to face it in the future.
Clinician confidence to report issues was another important point that several Members raised. It is important that clinicians feel able to raise concerns and that they are acted on, which does not always happen. Like most Members, the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth mentioned continuity of care and the importance of more research. One of the things that parents want to know is why this happened to them.