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In-action on patient deaths raised at FMQs

February 23, 2012 2:27 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP challenged the First Minister, during First Minister's Questions, today to explain a three month gap in action to rectify what the Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion has called 'perhaps the most serious catalogue of failings' at Ayrshire and Arran Health Board.

Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPIn response to Mr Rennie's question, the First Minister gave the impression that the Scottish Government only found out about the failings yesterday. But the information Commissioner's report makes it clear that an earlier report on the failures was published by PriceWaterhouse Cooper (PwC) in November.

Commenting Mr Rennie said:

"The First Minister implied today that Mr Dunion's report was all new information and that the Scottish Government were acting immediately to deal with the fall out.

"But what the First Minister failed to address was that these problems were actually identified last year.

"The health board in question hired PwC to investigate last year and they reported in November, over three months ago.

"This is a serious matter. People have died, yet the lessons have not be learned.

"There was a three month gap before the Scottish Government took action.

"The First Minister could not explain why neither the Health Secretary or anyone else in the Scottish Government took any steps to address the failings identified and the risks to patients identified in the PwC report for three months.

"Earlier this month I asked the First Minister about extending Freedom of Information laws. He refused. This case shows the value of open government. Without it and the persistent actions of one individual, this information might never have to light.

"Patients across Scotland will be worried that they have to rely on persistent individuals rather than the Scottish Government do the job."