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‘Medical records changed as hospitals cover up mistakes, watchdog warns’.

The Times Newspaper has recently reported that “Hospitals are still covering up serious mistakes in patient care and fobbing off families that raise concerns, the head of the watchdog that investigates complaints against the NHS has warned”.

This followed a report by Rob Behrens, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), who is responsible for looking into complaints about treatment by government departments and the NHS. Mr Behrens said that he had seen “cases of medical records being changed after a death and spoken to doctors who were too scared to speak out about failings in their hospitals.”

The article reports that he called on ministers to change the law to introduce a “duty of candour” on health and other public service staff to “transform” the system and make it more accountable to patients.

PHSO Input

Mr Behrens is quoted as saying, “There is a deep reluctance to explain and give an account of what you do in the health service or the public service for fear of retribution. The things that really get to me are the avoidable deaths of babies in the health service — dying because there’s been poor co-ordination, or they’d been wrongly diagnosed, or the parents hadn’t been listened to. That is shocking.”

However, there is already a duty of candour on healthcare providers. The Care Quality Commission says, “Every provider should be creating an environment that encourages candour, openness and transparency at all levels. Candour underpins a culture of safety; it is only when organisations are open and honest that they can effectively learn from incidents that cause harm and improve the care that people receive”

The PHSO website says it “makes final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments and other UK public organisations. We look into complaints where someone believes there has been injustice or hardship because an organisation has not acted properly or has given a poor service and not put things right. We look into complaints fairly, and our service is free for everyone”.

Making a Complaint

If you are not satisfied with your complaint to a healthcare provider, the PHSO may be able to help you.

Regrettably, we see the same types of medical negligence errors occurring time and time again across the NHS, which lead to avoidable harm. This leads to the injured patient receiving compensation for those injuries. Covering up mistakes leads to a greater suspicion that something has gone wrong. Being open, transparent, and genuinely learning from lessons would decrease these events and the cost to the NHS.

Medical Negligence Solicitors Near Me

Not everything that can go wrong in healthcare leads to a claim for medical negligence. In fact, only a small percentage do so. However, if you or a loved one are affected by medical negligence, then please contact us for a no-obligation review. You can call 0800 987 8800 or email  If we take your case on, we can offer a ‘no win, no fee’ funding arrangement.