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Hear Our Voice: Scottish Government investigating appointment of Patients’ Commissioner

© Fraser BremnerJeane Freeman
Jeane Freeman

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has revealed the Scottish Government is investigating the appointment of a Patients’ Commissioner.

She was speaking after the Hear Our Voice campaign won the support of patients, all opposition party leaders and leading experts.

Baroness Julia Cumberlege recommended England appoint a Patients’ Safety Commissioner in her landmark report into mesh implants, and two other treatments, that detailed how the concerns of patients had been ignored. She later backed our campaign, saying Scotland could lead the rest of the UK.

Ms Freeman told The Sunday Post she supports the idea “in principle” but that further work will be needed to decide exactly what the role would involve.

She said: “We are currently considering the recommendations in the Cumberlege Review as a whole. In principle, the Scottish Government would support the creation of a similar role to that described within the report, with emphasis on the patient voice.

“However, what that role looks like, where it would sit and how it would function needs to take into consideration the Scottish context and landscape, so would require further work, including consultation with patients.

“The report was largely directed at the health service in England, however our commitment to patient safety has been and remains key to delivering healthcare in Scotland and we are keen to review where developments can support this.”

Baroness Cumberlege and the other two members of her review team, Sir Cyril Chantler and Simon Whale, who all signed an open letter to Ms Freeman last week said they were “delighted” by her response.

They said: “We’re encouraged by the Scottish health secretary’s words about our recommendations and especially about the Patients’ Commissioner.

“We very much hope this essential new role is in place as soon as possible, and we stand ready to help in any way we can.”