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‘Babies are still being damaged’ Tory peer warns ‘evasive’ ministers


The government has been told it is ‘not sustainable’ to continue to delay its response to a major review on patient safety as ‘babies are still being damaged’.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review spoke to more than 700 people, mostly women who suffered avoidable harm from surgical mesh implants, pregnancy tests and an anti-epileptic drug, and criticised “a culture of dismissive and arrogant attitudes” including the “unacceptable labelling of many symptoms as “attributable to ‘women’s problems’”.

The review’s author Baroness Julia Cumberlege told HSJ that “time is marching on” for the Department of Health and Social Care to implement the recommendations of her July report, which include setting up a new independent patient safety commissioner.

The Conservative peer said pressure was building on government to adopt the findings of the review, since it had been endorsed by Royal Colleges and has already been adopted by the Scottish government. She said the government had given “evasive” answers in parliament on the issue.

In an exclusive interview with HSJ, Baroness Cumberlege said:

  • There is a crowded field of regulators but “there’s a void” for a service that listens and responds to patients’ safety concerns.
  • She feels “diminished” that women’s concerns are still being dismissed by clinicians, but said young doctors are a cause for hope.
  • She is “very optimistic” report will be implemented – but the NHS has to have the will to make changes.

Read full story (paywalled) 

Source: HSJ, 13 October 2020

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