Thank God for the NHS - but when things go wrong, the public has a right to know about it

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Few stories are as emotive as those involving medical malpractice. Nearly everyone will put their life in the hands of doctors and nurses at some point.

On more than one occasion I personally have had occasion to thank God (and Tony Blair) for the phenomenal standard of care offered by the NHS.

But when things go wrong patients and taxpayers have a right to know about it. So continuing moves to make doctors’ and nurses’ disciplinary hearings more secret are a terribly retrograde step.

The General Medical Council in particular needs to recognise that such moves would be self-defeating because openness is ultimately the best way to guard against corruption and promote best practice.

Today’s national newspapers are packed with coverage about the threat to press freedom posed by the increasing number of injunctions brought out to protect the privacy – and the lucrative public images – of the rich and famous.

I would argue that moves to make doctors (and nurses) disciplinary hearings more secret are an even more serious threat to press freedom and openness in the UK.

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Thank God for the NHS – but when things go wrong, the public has a right to know about it

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