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Patients' champion 'won't speak to patients'

Patients will not be able to directly contact Scotland’s new Patient Safety Commissioner under the role’s proposed remit, according to the Sunday Post.

Officials drawing up the job description for the position are proposing patients with concerns and complaints should go through their local health boards instead of dealing directly with the commissioner.

Last week, Henrietta Hughes was named as the government’s preferred candidate for the role of Patient Safety Commissioner in England. In that role, Hughes will be able to be directly contacted by the public.

Despite being the first UK country to announce the intention to appoint a commissioner two years ago the role in Scotland is not yet filled.

The decision not to allow patients to directly contact the commissioner in Scotland has been criticised by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, author of the report, First Do No Harm.

She said: “Of course, patients must be able to communicate directly with the commissioner and their office. In our review we said the healthcare system is not good enough at spotting trends in practice and outcomes that give rise to safety concerns. Listening to patients is pivotal to that.

“This is why one of our principal recommendations was the appointment of an independent Patient Safety Commissioner, a person of standing who sits outside the healthcare system, accountable to parliament through the Health and Social Care Select Committee."

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Source: The Sunday Post, 26 June 2022


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