Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said her party will push for new legislation – ‘Robbie’s Law’ – to close the medical loop holes that delayed crucial facts emerging about the death of a ten-year-old boy.
Ms Wood said the bill, named after Robbie Powell from Ystradgynlais, would include two primary provisions to outlaw the deletion of medical entries and ensure there is automatic right for next of kin of deceased patients to have full access to their loved one’s medical records.
Robbie died in April 1990 from Addison’s Disease, a rare but treatable condition which should have been diagnosed. Ever since the tragedy occurred, Robbie’s family have campaigned for the truth to come out about their son’s death and the investigation that ensued.
When Robbie’s father, Will Powell, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, it emerged that under current law ‘doctors have no duty to give parents of a child who died as a result of their negligence a truthful account of the circumstances of the death, nor even to refrain from deliberately falsifying records.’
Speaking at her party’s weekly press conference, Ms Wood said: “Plaid Cymru is looking at introducing a new bill – ‘Robbie’s Law’ – that could include two primary provisions.
“Firstly, to outlaw deleting entries in patients’ medical records which would allow amendments to take place retrospectively but, in the interests of transparency, would make all previous entries visible.
“The second primary legislation would grant an automatic right for the next-of-kin of deceased patients to have full and unfettered access to their loved one’s medical records.
“As the Powells found out in the aftermath of Robbie’s death when they took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, there is nothing in law to prevent the falsification of medical records nor is there anything in law to compel a truthful account to parents in the aftermath of their child’s death.
“I want something done about this in Wales and my party will be pushing for legislative changes to be made to end what I regard to be a glitch in the system.
“Had such safeguards existed in law at the time of Robbie’s death, then I doubt whether the pain they have felt for the last 22 years would have been exacerbated to the extent that it has been. I don’t think we can stand back and allow such anomalies to persist.”
Ms Wood also revealed she has called upon the First Minister to use his influence to push further for a public inquiry into the death of Robbie Powell and the circumstances surrounds its investigation.
“After more than two decades, there are still many questions that the family of Robbie Powell feel have not been answered,” said Ms Wood.
“Surely they deserve to know the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it makes certain public authorities feel.
“Whilst the police and CPS are not devolved, it is my firmly held view that the First Minister should meet as soon as possible with the Prime Minister to insist, once again, on a full public inquiry into Robbie’s death and into the circumstances surrounding its investigation.”