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Gosport hospital deaths: 'Blame culture' must end, says Health Secretary

BBC (21 June 2018): The "blame culture" in the NHS has to change to avoid more scandals like the Gosport War Memorial Hospital deaths, the Health Secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt said it was still too difficult for whistleblowers to raise concerns about mistakes being made. He was responding to claims similar situations to Gosport were "likely" to be replicated elsewhere in the NHS.

An Inquiry has found more than 450 patients died after doctors gave them "dangerous" amounts of painkillers. Prof Sir Brian Jarman, an expert on hospital mortality at the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, told the Today programme the Gosport situation may be repeated because information on death rates was not properly assessed by health officials. He said "there really is a desire not to know," about mortality rates at the Department of Health, adding that NHS whistleblowers were still being "fired, gagged and blacklisted".

Guardian (21 June 2018): Call to hold officials to account for Gosport deaths 'cover-up'

Senior officials who rebuffed families asking why their elderly relatives died at Gosport War Memorial hospital should be held to account and answer for the distress they caused, a patient safety charity has said.

A panel of experts, led by the former bishop of Liverpool James Jones, said there was an institutional practice of using life-shortening drugs and that consultants were aware of what Barton was doing, while nurses gave the drugs and the pharmacist dispensed them.

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, apologised to the families in the House of Commons and later said that hundreds of lives could have been saved if whistleblowers had been encouraged come forward.

The families say they want to see those responsible prosecuted, and Hunt said the Crown Prosecution Service and police should look at the report.

However, Peter Walsh, the chief executive of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), which helped some of the families get inquests for their relatives in 2009, said it may be difficult to bring criminal charges.

 

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