The Government has launched a review into how the NHS responds to concerns about medical treatments with the aim of finding a fairer and quicker way of resolving similar concerns in the future. Jeremy Hunt, Health and Social Care Secretary, said that the responses given by the authorities 'has not always been good enough'.
The review will last 9 months and comes after high-profile patient safety campaigns on vaginal mesh, the anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate and hormone pregnancy test Primodos used in the '60s and 70s. The review will also consider if there should be wider inquiries into these treatments. Whilst improvements to the handling of safety scandals are no doubt needed, this review has received a lukewarm response, particularly from the campaign groups themselves who wanted full public inquiries.
Responses to significant patient safety campaigns are usually led by national authorities whereas it is the clinicians at the coal face who often bear the brunt of dealing with patients' concerns on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully the review will provide a structure for future concerns to be dealt with robustly, appropriately and expeditiously with the additional benefit of minimising the risks and burden to the NHS.
Review launched to respond to patient concerns about NHS treatments