Labour party threatens to sue over NHS ‘cover up’ allegation
The UK Secretary of Health, Jeremy Hunt, has been threatened with
a lawsuit after he alleged the NHS ordered a cover up of a
hospital scandal under the Labour government in 2009.
The accusations pertain to the Shadow Health Secretary, Andy
Burnham, who supposedly stifled reports of appalling hygiene
standards and unusually high death rates in NHS hospitals.
Government emails, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
watchdog on Friday showed that the Labour government ordered that
reports of abnormally high death rates be withheld from the
Current Secretary of Health, Jeremy Hunt jumped on the emails,
branding them “overwhelming evidence” that Labour was
behind a cover up. He alleged it was part of a plan to “tone
down and cover up NHS failure for political purposes.”
Shocking revelations on @andyburnhammp’s attempts to cover-up failing hospitals. We’re legislating to make sure this can never happen again.— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) October 4, 2013
Shadow Health Secretary Burnham categorically denied the claims,
mounting a heated defense and calling for an apology for the
allegations. He said the accusations were unsubstantiated and
slammed them as a smear campaign by the Conservatives against
their rival party.
"It is high time he (Mr Hunt) focused on his real job and the
unfolding A&E crisis instead of orchestrating a smear
campaign without evidence," a party spokesman said.
The UK’s state healthcare has been criticized for multiple
reports of government cover ups of slipping. Earlier this year an
investigation into some 1,000 ‘avoidable’ deaths in NHS hospitals
in Stafford, central England, found that “corporate
self-interest and cost-control” were to blame for the
wider-scale NHS problems that allowed the deaths to happen.
Furthermore, a number of leaked letters revealed that doctors in
Lincolnshire had been ignored when they criticized falling
standards and malpractice. The number of ‘excess’ deaths at
Lincolnshire Hospital was 677 between 2009 and 2012, according to
David Bowles, the former chair of United Lincolnshire Hospitals
Trust. Bowles said he quit over such dangerous target-setting.
A study in May carried out by the British Medical Journal also
found that patients who had surgery in NHS hospitals at the end
of the working week were more likely to die. Investigators looked
at a subject group of over 4 million participants and discovered
that patients undergoing an operation on Friday were 4 percent
more likely to die than those with surgery at the beginning of
“Death rates were lowest for patients having operations on
Monday, increasing by around 10 percent for each subsequent day
of the week,” stated the study.
In spite of numerous reports of falling standards and negligence,
the UK government has implemented large cuts as part of sweeping
austerity measures. Over the last three months, the NHS has laid
off over 21,000 workers according to statistics by the Trade