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Labour launches bid to end NHS ‘culture of secrecy’ and improve safety following care scandals

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Labour is to push for key changes to the government’s NHS reforms, with new laws on transparency in the NHS and a demand for safe staffing levels on hospital wards, following a series of scandals relating to failures in patient care.

Amendments to the government’s Health and Care Bill will also include plans for the investigation of stillbirths by medical examiners, and for limits on the power of the health secretary to interfere in investigations.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth believes the changes – which also include giving local NHS regions the ability to object to some spending limits if they consider them to pose a risk to patient safety – will attract the support of Conservative MPs.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent ahead of the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Ashworth said it was vital that the NHS learned from mistakes and improved its record on safety, which he said could only be achieved through greater transparency.

“Patient safety has been forgotten in this bill. The patient voice has been ignored. Patients are like the ghosts in the machine,” he said.

“The bill is going through parliament, and we are putting down amendments to improve it as best we can. We want to put in the bill a framework to deliver greater patient safety, because after all, it should be the golden thread running through every aspect of healthcare delivery."

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Source: The Independent, 26 September 2021

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