Very supportive email from Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of MIND and Chair of the NHS England Mental Health Taskforce. These are extracts:

“The BBC’s report on the Mazars review of Southern Health NHS Trust shows it to be very damning and we agree that the report should be published as soon as possible – please see our comment here. I will be following this up with my contacts at NHS England, in particular through the mental health patient safety group.

On the PHSO [Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman] …, the points you raise chime with our evidence to the NHS hospitals complaints system review, though of course the problems are not limited to hospitals. We were critical of the PHSO’s narrow remit and the fact that there is such a big step up between local resolution … and taking it to the PHSO. As the review report said, the PHSO ”is too far removed from where the actions complained of took place and lacks accountability to local people”. Linking PHSO findings to CQC enforcement is essential. We also called for restoration and protection of legal routes of redress – to reinstate legal aid for clinical negligence cases and protect funding for judicial review – but clearly this is not where Government policy is. We will also want to see the new Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service, which starts work in April next year, substantially improving the standards of investigations.

Clinical negligence is a particularly difficult area, though I appreciate you are talking about regulatory and organisational investigations as much as individual legal action. I can see that misdiagnosis or poor clinical judgement may sometimes be difficult issues to assess, but the CQC should have an interest where NHS and other health care providers’ employees’ actions compromise patient safety, and we’ll seek clarification from them about the limits to their role and powers. Complaining to the GMC is another route, if that is relevant to your own case.

Our next major activity on access to justice will be on the Human Right Act when the Government consults on this next year, and we’ll be playing a very active part in this.

You may also like to know that following our campaigning on restraint, there is (among other things) work going on in the Department of Health and NHS England to improve the collection of meaningful data on the use of restraint.”

Unfortunately, the GMC cannot do much when Southern Health ‘loses’ patient data containing evidence of misconduct.

[Other Links to be added].

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