Yesterday in the House of Commons, Bob raised concerns with Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, about the new NHS Mandate.
During the exchange, Bob highlighted the case of his constituent Michael Wade who was wrongly refused surgery for a life-threatening condition. The decision to refuse treatment was subsequently reversed, but only after Bob and the Coventry Telegraph joined the fight to get Mr Wade the lifesaving surgery that he needed.
Bob told the Health Secretary that patients should not be forced to fight tooth-and-nail or be reliant upon their MPs or the local media to access the vital treatments that they need. He sought categorical assurances that the new Mandate would improve patients’ right in this area. Unfortunately, such assurances were not provided by the Health Secretary:
Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): “My constituent Michael Wade was wrongly refused surgery for a life-threatening condition. What in the mandate improves patients’ rights, or will they continue to have to rely on MPs and campaigning local newspapers?”
Mr Hunt: “Any such examples are totally unacceptable. The rights that people have to the treatment they need clinically are enshrined in the NHS constitution. There will always be a need for MPs and other campaigners to highlight problems in the system, but we hope to make it much easier by exposing unacceptably low levels of clinical care much earlier than happens currently. As a result of the changes in the next two years we will see the NHS becoming the most transparent health care system of any in the world, which we hope will enable us to identify failures before they lead to the kind of tragedy the right hon. Gentleman mentions.” (Hansard, 13 November 2012)