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Diane Abbott wants cases of medical negligence disclosed to patients

31/10/11: A call for an inquiry into a medical negligence secrecy case has been demanded by prominent MP Diane Abbott.

It was revealed that the Shadow public health minister, as of 2011, Diane Abbot had written to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in order to urge him to conduct an urgent investigation through the Department of Health into a potential spate of medical negligence cases which may affect many families nationwide.

The call was made after it was revealed that the family of Izabelle Easen, a seven-year-old girl from the town of Thorne near Doncaster, was not told about the negligence of a paramedic three years before. The paramedic in question had in fact failed to provide her the correct treatment which could have potentially saved Izabelle’s life.

The death of Izabelle was not the only case of secrets being withheld from families. It was revealed in a number of transcripts which were released by the Health Professions Council that there were four other cases of misconduct by paramedics. The transcripts were released under the Freedom of Information Act and came from various paramedic misconduct hearings.

The other four cases, which were based in Strathclude, South Yorkshire, West London, and Northumberland, each involved incidents where 999 patients had died. However, the families were not made aware of the important information that a paramedic who had participated in the case had not given adequate care and was in fact being subjected to proceedings.

The contents of Diane Abbot’s letter to Mr. Lansley pointed out the fact that his department should be ensuring the safety of the patients as well as providing proper care and treatment. The shadow public health minister then went on to point out that an inquest had been opened, with a police investigation being ordered by the procurator fiscal of Scotland, in addition to investigations by two other coroners.

The letter was then finished by Diane Abbot expressing her concerns that the Department of Health had not said anything about this matter or looked into it at the time.

The fifth, and so far final, victim of secrecy surrounding these medical negligence cases was revealed to be in the region of South Yorkshire when the Yorkshire Ambulance Service was asked about whether the family of a recently deceased man had been informed of the misconduct of a paramedic prior to the man’s death.

His widow, who did not want to be identified, was then told about the case of negligence for the first time after the question was sent to the NHS trust’s press office 80 minutes after the question was received.

The man in question was 58 years old at the time of his death, and was a father of three from Edenthorpe near Doncaster. He was suffering from terminal cancer, however his widow was not informed about the 13 instances of medical negligence that her deceased husband was a victim of in the care of the attending paramedic.

The last update indicated that the Doncaster coroner was investigating both his and Izabelle Easen’s death before making a decision on whether inquests are needed to resolve the matter of medical negligence.