Wednesday, January 12, 2005

MRSA cover up

Back in July of last year I tried to obtain data from Health Minister Jane Hutt on MRSA outbreaks in Wales but the information was withheld. This air of secrecy is exclusive to Wales, anyone wanting to know the figures for England need only log on to the NHS website to find out. Over the next few months other opposition politicians joined in calls for more openness and Jane Hutt agreed to set up a panel of experts to look at ways of publishing the data. Maybe I am cynical but I suspect that this could be a way of kicking things into the long grass for a while.

However two events have encouraged me to have another go at getting the figures. Jane Hutt has been sacked as Health Minister and replaced by Brian Gibbons, and the new Freedom of Information Act has come into force. I am now in the process of trying to obtain the figures using the Act. If this Act is really going to force public bodies to be more accountable, and if MRSA cases are as low as the Government says then it should be relatively straightforward. We will see....


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