The Patients Association supports Baroness Cumberlege’s call to the Government that it acts on the recommendations of the report, First Do No Harm, which uncovered a catalogue of patient suffering caused by three interventions that affected mainly women.

Speaking in the House of Lords this week, the Baroness said that the Department of Health and Social Care “…simply does not get it. Asking everyone, as it does now, to work together better in the future simply will not work, any more than it has in the past. We need someone and something new: a patient safety commissioner.” And she called on the minister to give an assurance that the report’s recommendations will be implemented.

Baroness Cumberlege is establishing a parliamentary group called “First Do No Harm”, whose purpose will be to ensure all the recommendations are implemented.

The Patients Association supported calls earlier this year for a Scottish patient safety commissioner; First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has recently announced that one will be appointed.

The Baroness told the House of Lords: “I stand before you as a person who was shaken by the experience of personally listening to over 700 women and their families, who have been damaged by the healthcare system. Their testimonies actually haunt me. Their bravery impels me to right their wrongs.”

The report, First Do No Harm, examined two medications; Primodos, a hormone pregnancy in use between the 1950s and 1970s and associated with damage to some newborns; and sodium valproate, an effective medication to control epilepsy, but which causes damage to babies if taken by pregnant women. The third investigation was the pelvic mesh, used in thousands of women and which has caused suffering and pain in many.

3rd September 2020