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Deaths inquiry will exclude dozens of concerning cases, says whistleblower

An inquiry into alleged efforts to cover up care failings at an ambulance trust has been criticised by a key whistleblower for being too limited in scope.

NHS England recently commissioned the inquiry into North East Ambulance Service, which has been accused of withholding key details from coroners in a number of deaths. Whistleblowers have raised concerns about disclosure in more than 90 cases.

Draft terms of reference for the review, seen by HSJ, say it will examine cases which occurred over a 12-month period up until December 2019.

Paul Calvert, a coroners’ officer at NEAS who raised concerns about the issues, said this effectively means only five cases will be scrutinised.

He added: “The terms of reference are clearly designed to not include the ongoing malpractice, only focusing on a limited time period and limited cases."

“The fact that the [inquiry] has chosen such a narrow time window and a handful of cases, is designed to perpetuate that after 2018 and 2019, the mistakes of the past were remedied. This is simply incorrect, misleading and dishonest to suggest.”

He said concerns about information being withheld continued “well into 2021” and the terms of reference risked “continuing the cover up of univestigated deaths”.

Read full story (paywalled) 

Source: HSJ, 13 October 2022


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