South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth today called on the Health Secretary, Shona Robson, to intervene in a planned review into the “unnecessary” deaths of six babies at Crosshouse hospital in Kilmarnock and fulfil promises she made to families.

The local MSP raised the issue at Health Questions in the Scottish Parliament where he urged the Heath Secretary to ensure the review will cover the unnecessary deaths of all six babies at Crosshouse Hospital which have occurred since 2008 takes place, as she previously promised.

Families of five out of six of the babies who died in Crosshouse Hospital since 2008 have recently discovered that their children’s deaths will not be included in the review by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) into the deaths of children at the Hospital as their children’s deaths occurred prior to December 2013. 

This comes after Shona Robison promised the families their case would be part of the review and just four months after she told the Scottish Parliament that deaths which occurred prior to December 2013 would be included in the review.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on 30 November 2016 during Health Questions in response to a question relating to the deaths of two babies at Crosshouse Hospital in 2011 and 2012 in the Scottish Parliament, Shona Robson stated:

“I have asked HIS to look into whether the processes and procedures in Ayrshire and Arran were properly followed in the cases that have been highlighted.  I have asked HIS to meet the affected families as part of the review and to report back to me with its findings at the earliest opportunity.”

In the Scottish Parliament today Colin Smyth said “In November last year, the cabinet secretary promised the parents of six babies who tragically died at Crosshouse hospital in Ayrshire from 2008, and whose deaths were deemed unnecessary, that there would be a full official review of their children’s deaths.

Given that promise, will she explain why five out of six of those families have discovered that the review by Healthcare Improvement Scotland will not consider their children’s cases in detail, as their deaths occurred before the end of 2013? Will she intervene to ensure that the cases of all six families, including the cases of the babies who died between 2008 and the end of 2013, will be given the full and official review that the families were promised and deserve?

In her response the Cabinet Secretary stated that the review would not be extended to include the families of children whose deaths occurred prior to December 2013.

Speaking after receiving the Cabinet Secretary’s response, Colin Smyth added:

 “It is utterly shameful that Shona Robson failed to fulfil her promise that all these cases would be properly reviewed. These families have faced the most unimaginable tragedy and they should all be afforded a review that gets critical answers about their babies’ deaths. 

The Cabinet Secretary not only told Parliament late last year that the death of two babies who died prior to 2013 would be included in the review, it seems she also wrote to the families affected to reiterate this commitment.  She has now broken her promise.

In her answer to me, Shona Robson blamed the timescales of the review set by HIS as the reason for excluding 5 out of 6 of the cases of babies who died at Crosshouse Hospital from the review, but I refuse to accept this.

These families have suffered heart-breaking tragedy and deserve answers rather than exclusion.  Shona Robson should see sense and support these families.  No amount of red tape should stop the truth being known by the families who deserve answers.”

The transcript of Colin Smyth MSP’s question to the Cabinet Secretary can be viewed

You can view the question and answer in the Scottish Parliament here


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