Hospital deaths Scotland: Patient safety legislation ‘must include Milly’s Law’, says Labour

Final amendments to legislation to establish a patient safety commissioner must strengthen the rights of bereaved families, Scottish Labour has said.​

Final amendments to legislation to establish a patient safety commissioner must strengthen the rights of bereaved families, Scottish Labour has said.

The Bill seeking to create an "independent public advocate" for patients will go through its final stage on Wednesday before MSPs vote on whether it becomes law.

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Public health minister Jenny Minto has said the commissioner would be able to challenge the healthcare system and ensure patient voices are heard.

Kimberly Darroch and daughter Milly MainKimberly Darroch and daughter Milly Main
Kimberly Darroch and daughter Milly Main

Scottish Labour is expected to propose amendments which will demand the legislation covers the key principles of Milly's Law, named after 10-year-old Milly Main, who had been in remission from leukaemia at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QUEH) before she died from an infection in 2017 believed to have been caused by the hospital's water supply.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the SNP and Greens had rejected the amendments at stage two but welcomed new commitment from Scottish ministers.

The Labour proposals include placing a duty on the commissioner to advocate on behalf of those affected by a major healthcare safety incident, such as in Milly's case.

Labour's amendments also call for a charter to be created which compels healthcare providers to comply with the demands.

A copy of any report produced by the commissioner into a major incident, which can be used in legal proceedings, must also be provided to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the party said.

In an appeal to MSPs ahead of the final vote, Milly's mother Kimberly Darroch said: "I urge MSPs from all parties to do the right things and ensure that patients and families come first and are never an afterthought.

"Right now, the system is stacked against those who have questions about what happened to their loved ones - that can't be right.

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"We are looking to our parliament to put measures in place so that nobody has to go through what we went through ever again."

Ms Baillie said: "The SNP and the Greens have already betrayed patients once during this Bill - they must not do the same again. I welcome the change of heart and the co-operation of the Scottish Government in delivering Milly's Law.

"Too often patients and families hit by scandals in our healthcare system are failed by those in power and forced to fight for justice.

"This Bill is an important chance to start tipping the balance of power back towards patients and it is essential that the SNP-Green government take this opportunity by backing Labour's plans."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "This important Bill champions the value of listening to patients and will ensure organisations are held to account for their responsibility to take patients' concerns seriously.

"The Bill already ensures the commissioner is independent of government and the NHS, and will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

"It also allows the commissioner complete freedom to consider or investigate any issue they believe to have a significant bearing on patient safety in health care, and they will be able to gather information from patients and their families, as well as from healthcare providers, to inform their work.

"The Government has listened carefully to MSPs and has worked collaboratively with everyone ahead of Stage 3 this week."



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