David Morris column: Plenty have case to answer over scandal

David Morris Morecambe and Lunesdale MP
David Morris Morecambe and Lunesdale MP
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The revelations on the Morecambe Bay hospitals trust cover-up has sent shock waves right through the constituency, and brought fresh pain to families already struggling to come to terms with devastating losses.

There are many questions left to answer.

The hospital must prove beyond doubt that services have been transformed since the scandal.

The leaders of the local health authorities at that time – supposedly in charge of performance managing the hospital – must come clean on what they knew about the suppressed Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

The regulator itself must provide urgent assurances that those responsible for this sickening cover-up face career-ending consequences as well as the full force of the law.

But there is another case to answer.

Morecambe Bay is the latest in a long list of hospital scandals that took place on Labour’s watch.

Like Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, Stoke Mandeville, Basildon and Stafford before it, the Morecambe Bay tragedy has laid bare a cover-up culture and tick-box inspection regime in Labour’s NHS, and my constituents deserve an account of this.

As the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said in his statement last week, the hospital regulator should be an organisation that stands up for patients without fear or favour.

Yet Labour ministers – obsessed with avoiding critical headlines and covering their backs – tasked the regulator with ticking boxes and closing down problems.

The former chair of the CQC, Baroness Young, has made very serious allegations that ministers ‘leaned on’ her to ‘tone down’ criticism of NHS organisations.

She claims that ‘there was huge government pressure, because the government hated the idea that a regulator would criticise it.’

Damningly, she revealed that this political pressure peaked under current Shadow Health Secretary’s Andy Burnham’s tenure as Secretary of State.

This is the man who turned down 81 separate requests for a public inquiry into the Mid Staffs scandal, and has attacked the current Health Secretary time and again for exposing and confronting ‘coasting hospitals’.

My website can be found at www.davidmorrismp.co.uk.

You can also email david.morris.mp@parliament.uk or write to me at Office 204 Riverway House, Morecambe Road, Skerton LA1 2RX.

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