Guernsey Press

St Pier says more families contacting him with concerns

A DEPUTY assisting parents with serious complaints against medical specialists and safeguarding services has said that more families are contacting him all the time.

Deputy Gavin St Pier. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32561712)

Three families with seriously ill children broke years of silence at the weekend when they released a statement claiming that safeguarding investigations were launched against them because they questioned local doctors.

Deputy Gavin St Pier has said that he has learned that other families felt similarly.

‘Regardless of the personalities or detail of individual cases, I continue to have more families contacting me with deeply worrying and harrowing experiences,’ he said.

The three families spoke out after doctors at the Medical Specialist Group criticised Deputy St Pier for naming a local doctor in the States during a speech in which he highlighted clinical and safeguarding concerns on the families’ behalf.

‘I shall continue to speak up on behalf of those who have found that the system does not afford them an equal voice, in order to represent their interests, for so long as they wish me to do so,’ he said.

‘I urge those in positions of responsibility and accountability to urgently progress deep cultural and systemic change, so that patient experiences improve permanently.’

Deputy St Pier said there was ‘a power imbalance inherent in any patient-doctor relationship’, which he believed required independent oversight and regulation which was currently absent from clinical care and many other local health services.

The three families’ experiences triggered a critical independent review into safeguarding services.

The Health & Social Care Committee declined numerous requests to publish the ensuing learning report before the families released it themselves at the weekend, two years after it was completed.

He was concerned that it took 15 months for the families to secure a meeting with those whose job it is to implement the recommendations of the learning report, and that ‘meaningful work’ only started at the beginning of this year.

‘While it appears that progress is now being made, it has to be recognised that changing processes is not enough.

‘A systemic change in culture and behaviours is required, which is much more challenging, and will need determined leadership.’

Deputy St Pier said he intended to continue pressing HSC for answers and progress.

At tomorrow’s States meeting, he will ask HSC president Al Brouard to back a local version of ‘Martha’s Rule’, which would allow a patient or a patient’s family to request a rapid review of care or a second opinion from a senior nurse or doctor.