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Gosport War Memorial Hospital

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the report prepared by Professor Richard Baker on events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. (264625)

The report from Professor Baker is not yet in the public domain, and we have to balance the legitimate public interest in openness against the rights of individuals named within the report in respect of personal details relating to them. We consider that there is a legitimate public interest in protecting their rights, at the present time, for those facts not to be disclosed—or at least for them to have a full opportunity to read the report and make their own comments upon it. Performing that assessment and taking all the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Act issues into account, we have concluded that on balance we should not yet issue it.

However, recognising the public interest in this whole issue, we do intend, once the inquests are concluded and the General Medical Council have decided what their action will be, and subject to the appropriate individuals identified in the report’s having had a chance to comment, to publish the Baker report, should publication still be relevant—that is to say, it may in the meantime become public knowledge from another official source, such as the proceedings of an inquest.