Cancer screening failures should prompt rapid appointment of patient champion

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the cervical cancer screening scandal must prompt the Scottish Government to speed up the appoint of a new independent figure to champion the cause of patients.

It is almost a year since cross-party agreement was struck on the need to appoint a Patient Safety Commissioner, but the Scottish Government still hasn't announced a date for when this will be established.

Mr. Cole-Hamilton said:

"Scottish ministers chose not to disclose the serious failures in cervical cancer screening for months. This week Clinical Director Jason Leitch confirmed it was a political decision to only reveal what had happened at the last possible moment on the last day of the parliamentary term.

"Women have been failed. Thousands will be reeling at this news. They deserved to know about the risk to their health months ago.

"This shows why there needs to be an independent commissioner with the power to stand up for patients in the face of such decisions and daunting systems. They would be able to stand up for these women, and others including the women left in constant pain by mesh implants and the families affected by the devastating hospital contamination scandal.

"There is an urgent need for a powerful independent figure to champion the rights of patients, listen to the valuable insight that they can bring and secure improvements to safety and treatment.

"It has already been almost a year since cross-party agreement was struck. The government must now get on with it and announce when this will happen."

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