Saturday, April 01, 2006

Psychiatric Scandal

The following is a follow up from the previous Blog. It was published in the UK... click the heading for the link.
Ministers set date for health scandals report
Simon McGee
Political Editor
MINISTERS will publish their formal response to inquiries into a series of medical scandals in the spring.
As well as the independent public inquiry into the serial killings by GP Harold Shipman there have been the cases of North Yorkshire psychiatrists William Kerr and Michael Haslam, who sexually assaulted patients, and disgraced Yorkshire gynaecologist Richard Neale.
The Department of Health has promised a "comprehensive programme of action" to "take forward" the hundreds of recommendations which arose from these inquiries and the investigation into Kent GP Clifford Ayling, another sex abuser.
In a letter to Richmond MP William Hague, Health Minister Jane Kennedy said: "We have made good progress in developing our thinking on the key proposals."
She added that the Government's response would be published after Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson had given his views and its implications considered with interested parties.
The revelation of the timing of the long-awaited response came as victims of Kerr and Haslam, representatives of campaign group Witness and MPs gathered in the Commons to underline their demand that the Department of Health take up the recommendations of the inquiries in full.
The Kerr Haslam inquiry, which reported last July, found that between 1965 and 1989 almost 50 different patients had raised concerns about the doctors' behaviour.
The 1,000-page report, commissioned by the Government, proposed 74 safeguards including better training for doctors and nurses on handling complaints of sexual assault and the availability of independent advocacy to all patients.
Last night Kathy Haq, spokeswoman for victims of the two doctors, said: "These recommendations have to be put in place.
"The inquiry itself was part of the healing process for many of us and of course all these things happened a long time ago, but the point is that patients are still being abused today.
"It may no longer be as widespread, but as far as we're concerned just one abuser is one too many."
Harrogate MP Phil Willis added: "So far nothing has happened with regard to Kerr and Haslam, Neale and Shipman.
"We need to see some new legislation and changes in procedures happen soon."
Graham Maloney, spokes-man for a group of Richard Neale's former patients, said it was time the recommendations made by the inquiry teams were put in place to make hospitals safer.
"It's good to talk but better to act and it's about time the Government did," he said.
01 February 2006


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