Bereaved families have been left feeling like their efforts to improve patient safety have been ‘in vain’ as progress of a government programme instigated by Jeremy Hunt appears to have ‘stalled’.
The Learning from Deaths programme board, which was set up in 2017 to develop guidance for trusts working with families on investigations of deaths, has not met since June 2019.
Josephine Ocloo and David Smith, two bereaved family members who were on the board, have written to HSJ, saying the programme’s progress has “stalled”.
They added many of the issues it was set up to consider have not yet been addressed, including the need for a national inquiry into unresolved historical cases, the independence of the NHS’ investigatory systems, lack of effectiveness of the duty of candour, and the disproportionate impact on ethnic minorities and those with mental ill-health or learning disabilities.
They said: “We now have serious concerns that what these families went through [in November 2017] in recalling — and effectively reliving — their experiences, in order to ensure the terrible things that happened to them could not happen to others, was in vain…
“If [the issues] are not to be addressed by the new board, the families will have every right to feel betrayed and to feel as if they have been used as pawns in a political game. Once again, harmed and let down by a system that has used us and then cast us aside.”
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Source: HSJ, 26 February 2021