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NHS FoIA whistleblower invited to meet Scottish health secretary

As Request Initiative blogged last week, one of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s nurses recently exposed severe malpractice in his own hospital via a Freedom of Information request.

Nurse Rab Wilson gained access to reports on incidents, which, according to the BBC,  “involved three missed chances to diagnose cancers, the death of a patient who was trapped in a faulty lift, a death which followed inadequate treatment of a leg wound, and two cases where psychiatric patients murdered or attempted to murder a relative”.

The Herald have now reported that Wilson has been invited to meet Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. The paper states: “Rab Wilson will tell Ms Sturgeon that although the chief executive and board chairman have been replaced, other heads must roll for the way reports into more than 50 serious incidents, many leading to deaths, were hushed up”.

The Liberal Democrats have criticised Sturgeon for only demanding an inquiry into the affair now, after Rab Wilson’s 5 year struggle to force the release of information culminated in last week’s decision notice by the Information Commissioner, who described it as one the worst breaches of FoIA law he had ever dealt with.

Millions of tram travellers cut from forecasts

The Herald Scotland have reported that the Edinburgh tram system is expected- in secret forecasts released under the Freedom of Information Act- to see its total users reduce from nearly 12 million to 5.4 million. This follows the trams’ route being cut in order to save money.

“The figures, disclosed to The Herald following a Freedom of Information request that was ultimately referred to Scotland’s Information Commissioner, illustrate the long-term difficulties created by cutting off developments east of the city centre that the trams were to serve

“Even after nine years of operation, the curtailed service is expected to attract fewer than 10 million passengers, while the full route, known as 1a, would have attracted about twice that number”.

The new ‘airport-to-St Andrew Square’ route is due to lose £5 million in the first year, a £700,000 reduction on the initial cost prior to the cut.  But, the Herald adds, “However, after nine years, the annual profits of the shorter route are significantly lower, at £1.4m – just over one- third of the £4.1m predicted for the full route”.

Benefits families could pay off £1m mortgage

Figures received after a FoIA request by the Daily Telegraph to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have raised questions over the government’s benefits cap.

In response to the FOI request, the DWP have revealed that 130 families have gained over  “£1,000 a week, including 80 who receive at least £1,100 a week”. Although the majority of Britain’s near five million claimants receive less than £100 a week, the DWP’s release also brings to light that around 30 families are receiving “£1,500 a week – three times what they would be earning on a national average wage – to pay their rent while another 60 are receiving up to £5,000 a month”.

In response, a DWP spokesman has said, “these figures underline exactly why our Housing Benefit reforms are so necessary”.

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