The father of a man with learning difficulties who died in NHS care has accused health secretary Patricia Hewitt of trying to dodge the truth about his son’s death which was highlighted in a Mencap report.
Allen Cannon, whose 30-year-old son Mark died two months after being admitted to hospital with a broken leg, met Hewitt this week along with five other families whose relatives with learning difficulties also died in NHS care.
The families’ cases were the focus of Mencap’s report, Death by Indifference, http://www.mencap.org.uk/html/campaigns/deathbyindifference/index.asp earlier this month.
After the meeting this week, Cannon said: “I felt as though Patricia Hewitt was trying to steer us away from the truth, away from the fact that Mark had been let down by the people we had trusted to look after him. I think we have been let down by the health service and if they don’t broaden their attitude to a full inquiry then we will pursue this further.”
Dame Jo Williams, chief executive of Mencap, who also attended the meeting with Hewitt, said: “We need to state clearly that the lessons that need to be learned so no-one else ever has to go through this.”
After Mencap’s report, the government admitted there was “systemic indifference” towards people with learning difficulties in the health service and announced an independent inquiry into the six deaths.