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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Campaigners’ delight as minister backs Furness General Hospital inquiry

CAMPAIGNERS have hailed a government pledge of support for an independent inquiry into failings at Furness General Hospital as a “huge relief”.

It comes after health minister, Dan Poulter, wrote to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust telling them that an external investigation is needed.

Mr Poulter met Barrow and Furness MP, John Woodcock, and members of the Morecambe Bay Inquiry Action (MBIA) group last week.

The investigation will not be a public inquiry, as evidence will not be heard under oath but it will be independent and heard in public.

Dalton dad James Titcombe, who lost his son Joshua nine days after his birth at FGH in October 2008, is spokesman for MBIA. He said: “It’s definitely what we would’ve hoped for and it’s a huge relief.

“It will be completely open and transparent and that’s what’s massively important.

“It means what happened won’t be glossed over, or buried, or forgotten about and hopefully we’re going to get to the bottom of it.

“It’s not just about looking at what happened. It’s about learning lessons, so we make sure we have a fully sustainable, safe, consultant-led service for the future.”

MBIA member, Leanne Coulson, successfully sued FGH after staff failed to spot a blockage in her newborn son Milo’s urinary tract in 2006, resulting in him losing a kidney.

Mrs Coulson, from Windermere, said: “I think people sometimes think we’re exaggerating about the things that have happened, so the fact we’re going to have a full inquiry will bring all of that into the public eye.”

Sir David Henshaw, UHMBT interim chairman, said yesterday: “I received the letter from Dr Poulter just before the weekend and discussed this with the trust board yesterday afternoon.

“We noted the contents of the letter and will be responding to the minister today.

“Dr Poulter said he was convening a meeting of local MPs, commissioners, regulators and the trust in March, and we will discuss the issue further at that time.”

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