Safeguards for medical records and legal duty of candour on the agenda
Following the revelation of serious shortcomings at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, the Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood has welcomed a commitment from the First Minister to explore bringing forward Plaid Cymru’s proposed legislation which will introduce a medical duty of candour and will outlaw the tampering of patients’ medical records.
Leanne Wood said that such a move would outlaw deleting entries in patients’ medical records. This would allow amendments to be made but, in the interests of transparency, would make all previous entries visible. The legislation would also introduce a “duty of candour” ensuring medics must be open and honest to patients and their families that would lead to greater accountability to patients from the medical profession.
The Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood said:
“A common theme in terms of alleged malpractice in the medical profession is the tampering of patient records. One of the recommendations of the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry was for new legislation to enshrine high standards and ensure full transparency.
“One of the lessons that can be learnt from the events at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and elsewhere is to ensure greater transparency for patients and sanctions if medical records are inappropriately tampered with.”
Jocelyn Davies AM, who made a private members Bill bid for Medical Accountability Bill said:
“Plaid Cymru called for the introduction of the law last year in light of the case of Robbie Powell who died in April 1990 from Addison’s Disease, a rare but treatable condition which should have been diagnosed. Ever since the tragedy, Robbie’s family has campaigned for justice and for transparency in such cases. There have also been other cases of records being tampered with to cover up poor treatment and bad practice.
“I very much welcome the opportunity to work with the Welsh Government to delivery meaningful improvements, enshrined in law, that would strengthen patients’ rights and ensure transparency. Good clinicians have nothing to fear from new legislation on medical records or a duty of candour but clearly such issues of matters of governance which means as legislators we have a duty to act in the public interest.”