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MP: NHS chief threatened me with legal action over corporate manslaughter claim
WYCOMBE MP Steve Baker told the House of Commons this afternoon that an NHS boss has threatened him with legal action.
Mr Baker said he got the warning after he raised the prospect that the trust in charge of Bucks' hospitals may be liable for corporate manslaughter.
He revealed he has sought legal advice about taking the health trust to court and cited two recent cases.
But NHS chiefs have reacted with shock at his actions.
See Mr Baker's statement to the Commons via this link HERE. His speech can be seen from after 15:25.
Edward Maitland died from respirational pneumonia at Wycombe Hospital as a result of being fed solids when he should not have been, an inquest found. Paul Ryan, who needed a leg amputation, faced a nine hour A&E wait at Stoke Mandeville in January and died a few days later, succumbing to peripheral vascular disease.
He said of the lawyers' advice to him regarding Mr Maitland: "They explained that in this case it may, at the preliminary stage, it may be that there is a case to answer for corporate manslaughter and liability for gross negligence manslaughter may well be attributable to one or more individual employees at the hospital.
"I don't want people to be prosecuted unnecessarily, I don't want to see taxpayers money wasted, but I want to see accountability. I believe that in the end courts provide that crucial accountability.
"I believe the court should be the ultimate way of sanctioning the NHS."
A recent Government report agrees, he said.
Wycombe Superintendent Gilbert Houlla has been briefed and the family has been passed the details of the lawyer's opinion.
He explained the case of Mr Ryan to MPs after his story was in last week's BFP.
Mr Baker told the commons: "Unfortunately this plays right into the publics fear. In Wycombe we lost A&E in 2005, we've recently lost our Emergency Medical Centre.
"We've just had two very similar repeat occurrences of the minor injuries unit failing to refer people across the car park to the excellent cardiovascular and stroke unit.
"We've had an enormous range of little problems. The little 85 year-old lady with dementia sent home at 2am in just her hospital gown. This cannot go on.
"The public's concerns are justified."
Then, Mr Baker launched an attack on management of the hospitals.
He said: "Finally I make a point on transparency. Yesterday I spoke to Anne Eden, the chief executive of the hospitals' trust and I'm not going to put on record the whole content of the conversation.
"But when I said I intended to raise this issue of corporate manslaughter, admittedly on the radio this morning, I was told in turn that to protect the reputation of the Bucks trust legal action would be sought.
"This is a matter of public interest raised by an MP in good faith. To be fair she was talking about radio. But I've had to rely on privilege to protect myself from being sued on this matter. It's not acceptable that such a matter should have to come to a MP to rely on privilege.
"It really is time for proper accountability and that must includes the court."
Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust has released the following statement.
It read: "“Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is saddened and shocked by Steve Baker’s comments in the House today.
"We have strived to have an open and honest dialogue with all our MPs over recent years and are sorry if Steve does not feel that this has been the case and has used parliamentary privilege as a means to raise his concerns.
"We strongly encourage Steve or any other individual to contact us directly with any concerns, particularly those referred to today in the House, as we continuously strive to offer the best quality of care to our patients.”