Letter to the Minister for Patient Safety

Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP and other supporters of the APPG First Do No Harm have written to the Minister for Patient Safety, calling for the government to reconsider its continued advocacy for a litigation route for those harmed by Primodos, sodium valproate and mesh. The signatories of the letter are calling for a meeting with the Minister to discuss the need for redress schemes, as initially recommended by the First Do No Harm report.

Read the full letter to Maria Caulfield MP, Minister for Patient Safety and Primary Care below.

Click here to view.

UPDATE – Virtual public meeting on redress

On Wednesday 26th January from 10:30-12:00, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm (APPG FDNH) held a virtual public meeting on the topic of redress schemes for those who have suffered avoidable harm linked to pelvic mesh, sodium valproate and Primodos.

This meeting was an opportunity to hear from representatives of various patient groups about what victims need and what they are missing from current support mechanisms. Officers and members of the APPG FDNH also provided an update on the Health and Care Bill, which passed through Committee in the House of Lords earlier that month.

The meeting was Chaired by Baroness Cumberlege (Co-Chair, APPG FDNH), joined on a virtual panel by representatives of the following patient groups, as well as Officers and members of the APPG FDNH:

  • Sling the Mesh
  • Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests (ACDHPT)
  • Independent Fetal Anti-Convulsant Trust (IN-FACT)

Attendees had the opportunity to put forward questions during the meeting and were invited to follow the event on social media by using #Redress and #FirstDoNoHarm.

To view a recording of the session please see below or click here

Download meeting note

A note of the meeting is available to download. Click on the link above to view.

Update following Annual General Meeting

On Friday 22nd October 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm met to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM). As well as re-electing parliamentarians to officer positions – including Baroness Cumberlege and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as co-Chairs – the Group reviewed progress to date and agreed plans for the coming months.

Review of recent activity

At the meeting, the Group looked back on a successful year for the APPG, which included:

  • Further raising the profile of the effects of the campaigns (pelvic mesh, sodium valproate and Primodos) in Parliament – including the scheduling of a Commons debate to coincide with the 1st anniversary of the publication of First Do No Harm, in which over 20 MPs participated.
  • Raising the profile in the media, with appearances on and mentions in R4’s Today ProgrammeSky News, BBC News The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Independent.
  • Holding four external events that welcomed, in total, over 300 attendees – including one in collaboration with the British Medical Journal

The Group also discussed recent conversations with NHS England and the MHRA, in particular with the NHSE Medical Director on sodium valproate and pelvic mesh, as well as with the Scottish Government.

Plans for 2022

The Group discussed its plans for the coming months, which will include:

  • Tabling amendments to the Health and Care Bill that seek to provide redress for affected individuals and their families.
  • In anticipation of the appointment of the Patient Safety Commissioner in the New Year, bringing together other commissioners (such as Domestic Violence, Victims etc.) to share their experiences and help inform the selection process.
  • Meeting the Minister for Patient Safety. We have requested the new Minister for Patient Safety, Maria Caulfield MP, attends a meeting of the APPG to update it on the implementation of First Do No Harm.
  • Ensuring the continued engagement of patient groups and affected individuals, following the conclusion of the work of the Patient Reference Group.

Statement from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

Statement from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

Responding to the publication of a Written Ministerial Statement on the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:

“We welcome the government’s acceptance of four of the Review’s nine recommendations and a further one in principle.  We are particularly pleased there will now be a Patient Safety Commissioner, and we urge the government to move swiftly to appoint the person and establish the post. We are confident that the Commissioner will be able to reduce the risk of avoidable harm in future, and spare individuals and families from the appalling consequences witnessed by the IMMDS Review. 

“But we are deeply disappointed the government has rejected calls for an independent redress agency or any redress for families whose lives have been devastated by medicines or medical devices. For those families justice has not been done today.”

 

ENDS

Notes for Editors

Jeremy Hunt MP is Chair of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Baroness Cumberlege was Chair of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.  

She and Jeremy Hunt MP are Co-Chairs of the First Do No Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group www.firstdonoharmappg.org.uk.

For more information contact the Group’s Secretariat at Luther Pendragon via fdnh@luther.co.uk.

 

House of Commons debate on 8th July

On 8 July there will be a debate on the floor of the house on the following motion tabled by Emma Hardy MP and Alec Shelbrooke MP:

“That this House notes the publication of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm; notes the Government’s refusal to implement the recommendations of that review in full; further notes the significant discrepancy between the incidence of complication following mesh surgery in the Hospital Episode Statistics and the British Society of Urogynaecology databases, as highlighted in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Project Report, Hospital Episode Statistics as a source of information on safety and quality in gynaecology to support revalidation; notes that a Government promise to publish a retrospective audit to investigate the links between patient-level data to explore outcomes has not been fulfilled; notes that the moratorium on mesh implant procedures should not be lifted until that audit has been undertaken and the true scale of suffering established; notes Ministers’ continued refusal to acknowledge recommendations relating to victims of Primodos; and calls on the Government to fully implement the recommendations for victims of mesh, sodium valproate and Primodos without further delay.”

Download - Briefing for Parliamentarians

The Group’s Secretariat at Luther Pendragon have produced a briefing for parliamentarians ahead of Thursday’s debate. Click on the link above to download.

Joint meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm and the British Medical Journal 21.05.21

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) held a virtual public meeting on the topic of establishing a register of financial and non-pecuniary interests for doctors, as recommended in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm. To view a recording of the session below or please click here.

A note of the meeting is available here

Joint meeting on establishing a register of financial and non-pecuniary interests for doctors

On Friday 21st May from 10:00-11:30, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) will hold a virtual public meeting on the topic of establishing a register of financial and non-pecuniary interests for doctors, as recommended in the report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, First Do No Harm.

The meeting will be co-Chaired by Baroness Cumberlege (Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm) and Fiona Godlee (Editor in Chief, BMJ), who will restate the case for the introduction of a register and review where progress has been made. They will be joined on a virtual panel by:

  • Margaret McCartney – general practitioner, freelance writer and broadcaster
  • Kath Sansom – Sling the Mesh
  • Neil Mortensen, President, Royal College of Surgeons
  • Professor Colin Melville, Medical Director and Director, Education and Standards, General Medical Council
  • Officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm

Attendees will have the opportunity to put forward questions during the meeting and are invited to follow the event on social media by using #RegisterofInterests and #FirstDoNoHarm.

Those interested in attending are welcome to express their interest by emailing the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm via fdnh@luther.co.uk.

Patient Safety Commissioner for England – an update

The role and powers of the Patient Safety Commissioner are now in law, contained in the Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021.  The government agreed to include this in the Act following pressure from Baroness Cumberlege, Co-Chair of the First Do No Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group, and a range of other parliamentarians of all parties.

Further legislation is now required to set out all the details of how the Patient Safety Commissioner will operate – staffing arrangements, budgets, office accommodation and the appointment process for the Commissioner herself or himself. This is known as secondary legislation, and it takes the form of regulations or statutory instruments.  This type of legislation is prepared by the government and is subject to approval by both the House of Commons and House of Lords before it can become law. 

The Department of Health & Social Care expects soon (likely in May 2021) to launch a public consultation on the matters that will be contained in the secondary legislation.  After the consultation has concluded, and comments received have been considered, the process to appoint the Commissioner will begin.  We do not yet know when the appointment will be made, but we hope it will be before the end of 2021.

The Department of Health & Social Care is keen to encourage anyone with an interest to respond to the consultation.  We will post details of how to do so as soon as they are available, and we will provide further updates of progress towards appointing the Commissioner here on our website. 

Officers meeting of the APPG for First Do No Harm

Last Thursday (11th March), officers of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for First Do No Harm met to discuss the Group’s activity since launching in December, and to agree on a programme of work going forward.  This will include:

  • Seeking a backbench business debate about the First Do No Harm report in the House of Commons Chamber to maintain parliamentary pressure on the Government to move more swiftly to implement the outstanding recommendations of the report
  • Arranging a public meeting on the topic of establishing a register of financial and pecuniary interests for doctors, as recommended in First Do No Harm. The Group intends to hold this with the British Medical Journal and will invite a range of speakers.
  • Writing to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to seek an update on the use of manuals used by DWP PIP assessors when assessing individuals affected by mesh complications, sodium valproate and Primodos.  This action arises from continuing concerns among patients about difficulty obtaining PIP. 

 The Group will publish further updates as this work progresses.