THIS past while me an ma campaignin friens at ASAPNHS (A Safe & Accountable People’s NHS in Scotland) hae bin byordnar busy wi a wheen o staff/patient safety issues in wir NHS.

Ah’m nae shair gin ony o ye’se claucht the new Trevor McDonald documentary anent the killer nurse Beverley Allitt when it aired last week? Scary stuff. Haurd hittin – an weel warth a watch. Allitt is a serial child killer wha wis jyled fir life fir the murder o fowr weans an the attempt tae murder anither three weans. She alsae caused grievous bodily hairm tae six mair weans.

READ MORE: Faimilies wir richt tae feel bad bluid ower inquiry

Whit lowped oot at me in this programme wis that but fir the suspeecions o wan determined detective, wha hud the smeddum tae ignore his bosses tellin him tae drap the case, she wid nae dout hae killt a wheen mair weans an babies.

The maist fawmous case o raicent times o mass serial killin in oor NHS though is the Manchester GP Dr Harold Shipman. Shipman they reck killt as mony as 250 fowk in a murderous spree that went oan undetected fir aiblins decades.

This aa heppent in England tho – sae whit’s heppenin tae keep an ee oan, an prevent sic ongauns, in oor health services here in Scotland. Weel, ehhh ... in a wird ... naethin!

READ MORE: Why Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry system is failin us aa

Likesay, ae wee pairt o ASAPNHS’s raicent acteevities an speirins hus bin tae ask, unner FOISA (Freedom of Information) hou mony Serious Adverse Event Reviews (SAERs) in the past five years, the 14 territorial health boards in Scotland hae reported tae the Crown Oaffice (COPFS) fir investigation.

Nou the COPFS’s ain guidelines state that, amang a wheen o ither types o ‘reportable deaths’, ‘any death, the circumstances of which are likely to be subject to an adverse event review (as defined by health improvement scotland) must be reported to the copfs’.

Nou, dear reader, ah dinnae think it can get ony clearer as that, dae you?

Sae, haein lit this ‘blue touch paper’ we sat back an waited fir this information tae come in. Ye wid think that these 14 territorial health boards wid hae acted swipperly, in that ‘transparent and open’ mainner they’re aye vauntie aboot, tae gie us that information. But naw, some o thaim, the feck o thaim indeed, becam gey sweir, mim-mou’d an dounricht blate when it cam tae providin this information tae the public.

Excuses wir rowed oot ho-ro; ‘We do not hold this information.’; ‘We would have to look at hundreds of individual cases and the costs would be prohibitive ...’; ‘The COPFS hold this information ...’; ‘Giving you this information would breach the Data Protection Act ...’; sae much fir oor auld friens ‘openness an transparency’!

The pairt o the COPFS tasked wi investigatin aa sudden an unexplained daiths, includin hospital daiths, is the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU).

The SFIU examine anent 12,000 daiths a year – yet in the last five years thair hus anely bin 155 Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs). An anely 12 o these luiked at serious or fatal NHS disasters. Keep mind, the NHS and health is the biggest safety risk business in the kintra. It bi faur ootstrips oil, nuclear, chemical, transport an ony ither industry. It’s the first place whaur HSWA law shuid apply rigorously.

Sae hou mony SAER’s hae the 14 boards actually owned up tae in the past five years? The total cams tae 1184 SAER NHS related daiths.

Likesay, aa these SAER daiths must, bi the COPFS’s ain guidelines, be reportit tae the COPFS. Sae hou mony did wir 14 territorial boards ackwally report? The definitive answer tae that appears tae be 46.

Aye, oot o 1184 daiths that must be reported tae the COPFS fir investigation bi the SFIU, anely 46 wir luiked at.

An we’d tae pretty much wark that oor fir oorsels, as the feck o wir health boards didnae ken hou mony daiths wir reportit.

Faimilys, some o wham ASAPNHS are warkin wi richt nou, hae bin rump an stump denied justice fir the loss o their luved wans. Health Boards waash their haunds o SAER’s as swith as they can, an gin ye dinnae like it, teuch! Tak it tae the ombudsman (SPSO) – wha’ll nae dout kick the can doun the road fir anither year afore tellin ye thair nae case tae answer.

Sae, gin the health boards dinnae keep a note o hou mony daiths they report tae the COPFS; the COPFS dinnae keep note o SAER daiths reported tae thaim; an HIS dinnae tak tent o this information an store it; then wha dis? Is thair onybody luikin eftir the shoap at aa?

This o coorse begs the question, an kennin whit we at ASAPNHS ken, whit dis the Scottish Government hae in place tae monitor an prevent a Beverley Allitt or a Dr Shipman fae heppenin here in Scotland.

The answer is agane, naethin! An mibbes it’s aareadies heppenin – fir naebody wull ken. Mair as 90% o the SAERs arenae reported – or investigatit.

Major public inquiries the length an braidth o the UK hae luiked at these sorts o ongauns; the Penrose Inquiry, the Shipman Inquiry, the Sir Robert Francis (Mid-Staffs) Inquiry ... An yet, despite the millions o oor siller spent an the promises gien, the lessons still arenae lairnt. An bad things conteenue tae heppen agane, an agane, an agane.

Ah hae written lengthy letters tae Jeane Freeman MSP (ma ain MSP an current Health Secretary) an tae Robbie Pearson (CEO HIS) askin thaim whit they are daein aboot this deidly black hole in patient safety an the law in Scotland.

Ah’ve no hud ony meaningful repone frae ony o thaim yet, but when they dae get back tae me tae explain aa this an whit’s tae be duin ye’se wull be the first tae ken aboot it.