Why the Hillsborough Report is so important

The disturbing conclusions of the Hillsborough Report have far wider implications than may have first been appreciated, believes clinical negligence partner and former NHS nurse Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp…

The report suggests that tampering with evidence and covering up the truth after mistakes have been made not only can happen, but did – across a range of services and organisations.

In Scotland there have been recent calls for no-fault compensation for medical errors. I would urge caution in going down that route. During my years in the NHS and as a lawyer representing the victims of medical mistakes causing serious injury and death I, too, have seen many cover-ups of individual incompetence and systemic failures – the latter arguably more serious.

Through investigating a medical accident, and holding those responsible to account, it has been possible to highlight poor practice and organisational failures and campaign for improvement. For many injured claimants this is the most important outcome of their action – to stop the same thing happening again. No-fault compensation would put a stop to outside scrutiny and accountability and would be a retrograde step.

All of us make mistakes. But if a mistake results in serious injury or death, an open and honest investigation – and accountability – are essential to prevent recurrence.

Hillsborough demonstrates that sadly we cannot simply trust public services to always do the right thing.

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Accidents and Disease, Current Controversies, Medical Negligence, Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp,
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