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House of Commons Hansard
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Health and Social Care
09 May 2018
Volume 640

Learning Disabilities Mortality Review

The following is an extract from the Urgent Question answered by the Minister of State for Care on 8 May 2018.

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The Secretary of State announced to the House in December 2016 that he would ask the review for annual reports on its findings, so why was a review of this importance published during the recess, before a bank holiday weekend in the middle of local election results, giving Members little chance to scrutinise its findings? When asked about the report on the “Today” programme on Radio 4, Connor Sparrowhawk’s mother, Dr Sara Ryan, said that she was

“absolutely disgusted by the report”

and that the way it had been published at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend

“shows the disrespect and disregard”

there is for the scandalous position of people with learning disabilities shown in the report.

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On the date of publication, the hon. Lady will be aware that this was an independent report prepared by the University of Bristol and commissioned by NHS England, which wanted to look into this really important issue, and because it was an independent report, it did not actually alert us to publication, so we had no more notice than she did. We are investigating through NHS England and others why that happened. [Official Report, 8 May 2018, Vol. 640, c. 546.]

Letter of correction from Caroline Dinenage:

An error has been identified in the answer given to the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) on 8 May 2018.

The correct answer should have been:

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On the date of publication, the hon. Lady will be aware that this was an independent report prepared by the University of Bristol and commissioned by NHS England, which wanted to look into this really important issue, and because it was an independent report, it did not formally alert us to publication. We are investigating through NHS England and others why that happened.

The following is an extract from the Urgent Question answered by the Minister of State for Care on 8 May 2018.

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The front page of the report is clearly dated December 2017, so will the Minister clarify and explain why, as she has stated today, her Department did not have sight of it prior to its publication?

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I completely hold my hands up. I am not trying to mislead the House in any way. It is an independent document and the University of Bristol decided when it was going to be published. It was published on Friday without permission from or any kind of communication with the Department of Health and Social Care. I do not know what communication the university had with NHS England, but no information was passed to us. The beauty of having an independent document is that it can be published when the organisation sees fit and the Government will have to respond to it.

[Official Report, 8 May 2018, Vol. 640, c. 553.]

Letter of correction from Caroline Dinenage:

An error has been identified in the answer given to the hon. Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) on 8 May 2018.

The correct answer should have been:

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This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I completely hold my hands up. I am not trying to mislead the House in any way. It is an independent document. NHS England and the University of Bristol decided when it was going to be published. It was published on Friday, without permission or official communication with the Department of Health and Social Care. I do not know what communication the university had with NHS England, but no information was passed to us from the university. The beauty of having an independent document is that it can be published when the organisation sees fit and the Government will have to respond to it.