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Nurse uses FoIA to publish secret hospital reports on 20 patient deaths and severe malpractice

A nurse working at NHS Ayreshire and Arran has used the Freedom of Information Act to make public otherwise restricted hospital reports that cover more than 20 patient deaths

The BBC reports that Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has ordered an investigation into procedures at the health board.

The incidents, which at the most severe degree, “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”.

Yet reports on the above had previously been withheld from staff at NHS Ayrshire and Arran for at least five years. As a result, nurse Rab Wilson made a Freedom of Information request that eventually returned details on such events which also included twenty patient deaths.

Although Wilson had been informed that he would only be entitled to such details by resorting to the 2000 Freedom of Information legislation, the health board, on the grounds of patient confidentiality, then refused his requests. Nurse Wilson, “realising that dozens of similar reports had also been withheld… appealed to the information commissioner, who has now ordered the health board to release anonymised versions of the reports”. The BBC adds that “Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion said there had been a “catalogue of failings” by the board which may have been the most serious breach of FOI laws he had ever dealt with”.

Rab Wilson also told BBC Scotland “It appeared to me that the learning experience from these events was not being made available.

“I believe that in the new Scotland, which is a place of justice and fair play and compassion, workers should not be afraid to speak out – especially about serious, serious issues like this that impinge on patient safety, patient care and staff safety as well.”

Freedom of Information request reveals Company A4e abuses welfareto-work scheme to gain free labour.

A Freedom of Information request made by the Guardian has returned evidence that the ‘social purpose company’ A4e “sent people it was meant to be helping to find employment to work for nothing in at least two of its London offices” the Times reports.

The work placements were mandatory under the Labour introduced New Deal scheme and lasted for four weeks. The benefit claimants involved were “made to work unpaid for the company or lose their benefits”.

David Cameron has consequently called “for a thorough investigation into the company after four of its former employees were arrested on suspicion of fraud”. The government has since terminated its commercial relationship with A4e, which had previously seen the north London based company receive tens of millions of pounds each year.

‘Two Out of Three Norfolk Criminals Ignore Tagging Rules’, reports EDP.    

EDP has announced that two thirds of criminals in Norfolk have ignored the regulations surrounding electronic tagging measure, after the news website makes Freedom of Information request.

The site reports, “the figures, obtained by the EDP through the Freedom of Information Act, show 173 out of the 277 people given tags by Norwich’s Magistrates’ and Crown courts last year breached their curfews, including 38 who tampered with their tags”. Leading to the conclusion that “the numbers raise questions over the use of electronic monitoring which is hailed as an alternative to prison and is becoming more widespread. There were 293 cases in 2009, 411 in 2010 and 393 in 2011” [in Norwich].

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