MONY o oor readers wull be awaur o ma lang-staundin involvement in campaignin oan patient safety an justice issues in oor NHS. Ane o these lang-staundin issues is the call fir a polis investigation o the historic serious adverse event report daiths at NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

The day ah can gie ye’se an update oan that case. Follaein the submission o six major complaints tae Polis Scotland ower their haundlin o this maitter (aa o which they said werenae upheld) ah haunt the complaints oan tae Kate Frame (the Polis Independent Review Commissioner). Surprise, surprise! Kate Frame produced a report that upheld five o the oreeginal six complaints! Oh dear, egg aa ower the polis’s faces! A grovellin apology wis syne sent frae a heich heid yin in the polis an the maitter wis batted back yet agane tae the COPFS an the Lord Advocate – wha, it wis announced in the papers, said he wid luik agane at re-openin the investigation. Tho, tae be truthfu, thair hus ne’er really been ony investigation.

As is the wey wi the COPFS, lang months went by.... Ah wrote tae the Lord Advocate a couple o times tae spier whit wis gaun oan. “Oh aye, we’ll get back tae ye...”. But they didnae. Aamaist nine month eftir the Lord Advocate said he luik intil this an still thair wis nae offeeshul wird back frae him. Sae ah went alang tae the Scottish Cabinet roadshow at Cumnock Toun Hall an spiert o the First Meenister whit wis gaun oan wi this case. Tae her credit she said she wid personally contact the Lord Advocate’s oaffice an ask thaim tae get back tae me. A few weeks went by an then ah goat a gey terse letter frae a Liam Murphy oan behauf o the Lord Advocate tae tell me that they’d luiked at the case eidently agane an hud cam tae the conclusion that there “were no further investigations which should be instructed”. They said the case hud bin “fully reviewed”.

As ye can jalouse, ah wis beilin wi this deceesion. An fowk o Ayrshire shuid be beilin tae. Syne ah oreeginally reportit this maitter tae the polis (in April 2013) thair wull nou be mair as 200 avoidable/preventable daiths at NHS A&A – the feck o which hae ne’er bin investigated bi the polis.

Ah hae jist submittit a Freedom o Information request fir a copy o the Lord Advocate’s “full review” intae ma case. It wull be interestin tae see hou “transparent and open” the COPFS are in lettin the public see this “full review”. Ah’ll let ye ken hou ah get oan!

Ower the border in Englandshire things are a bit different. At the weekend it wis announced that follaein the raicent Gosport NHS scandal (whaur mair as 450 patients dee’d eftir doactirs gien thaim “dangerous” levels o drugs) that a new polis investigation is tae be launched. This is eftir three previous polis investigations failed tae bring ony chairges. Dae ye’se see a pattern in aa this? Hou faur doun the road can we kick this can!? The Gosport Independent Panel said the quality o umquhile investigations hud bin “consistently poor”.

It wis reportit that NHS whistleblowers an faimilies wir aa ignored when they tried tae raise ony concerns. The independent panel is chaired bi Bishop James Jones – the same man wha chaired the Hillsborough inquiry. He said that thair hud bin a “disregard for human life” fir a muckle nummer o patients frae 1989 til 2000.

Charles Farthing, whaes stepfaither Brian Cunningham dee’d at the hospital, said previous polis investigations hud bin “a waste of public money”. He went oan: “It’s absolutely appalling... There’s been nothing come of it. I want to see criminal charges laid.”

Agane, dae ye’se see a pattern in aa this!? We hae oor ain Hillsboroughs an Gosports here in Scotland, an it wid appear that daurk pouers are at wark tae see that aa these avoidable/preventable daiths in oor NHS bide uninvestigatit. The byordnar French philosopher Michel de Montaigne said o physicians: “The sun lights their success and the earth covers their failures.” Plus ca change.

Oor campaign group Action for a Safe and Accountable People’s NHS (ASAPNHS) is currently supportin a wheen o faimilies wha are fechtin tooth an nail tae try an get justice fir luved wans wha hae dee’d unnecessarily or in suspicious circumstances in oor NHS. An as ye’ll nae dout ettle, it is a lang, haurd, expensive, uphill legal battle fir thaim.

Oan tap o aa this we hae the kweerious situation in Scotland whaur Scottish meenisters, nemly the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General, appear tae routinely direct the polis in sic “investigations”. This is due tae a queer anomaly in the draftin o the Scotland Act 1998 (s44). It means in effeck that they can ne’er be consiedert tae be independent o the government, they are legally defined in the Act as bein the Scottish Government. It kythes that we hae nae independent prosecution service. In ony democracy that wid be a worrying thing.

The Lord Advocate’s letter tae me o July 6, 2018, kythes that he still husnae investigatit these 40+ (nou ower 200) daiths – an refuses utterly tae dae sae. Tae ma mind this is a clear dereliction o duty an in effeck this meenister an law oafficer’s letter o resignation. It can be guaranteed that the failures o the Scottish law oafficers tae uphaud the Health and Safety at Work Act oan the prevention o patient safety daiths wull hae alloued mony mair daiths at aa oor NHS trusts; the daiths o fowk that you ken. Why dis the Lord Advocate refuse tae investigate the daiths at NHS A&A?

Lik the Liverpool Hillsborough case this “Scottish Hillsborough” isnae gaun awa ony time suin!