Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MPs Put Pressure on Ministers to Publish Register; Document Would Reveal NHS Overhaul Dangers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

MPs Put Pressure on Ministers to Publish Register; Document Would Reveal NHS Overhaul Dangers

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green

NORTH East MPs are piling pressure on the Government to release a document that critics claim will spell out the dangers posed to the NHS by a controversial overhaul.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has been leading a campaign to force Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to release the NHS "risk register" - claiming failure to do so could amount to the "greatest political cover-up of a generation".

He has won backing from more than 80 MPs who have signed a Parliamentary motion urging Mr Lansley to comply with an order from Information Commissioner Christopher Graham to publish the document.

Significantly, that includes 11 of his Labour colleagues from the region as well as North East Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales. And 14 other Lib Dem MPs have also backed the motion, while Mr Morris claimed Tory MPs were supportive - but unable to sign for "political" reasons.

In a further development, a senior regional union official also called on the Government to release the document ahead of a crunch Commons debate on the issue called by Labour today. Mr Morris said: "The risk register identifies risks that are posed by the new Health and Social Care Bill. If Andrew Lansley is serious about his commitment to transparency and openness, why doesn't he publish the risk register?" The Labour MP claimed the document could potentially identify threats to patient care, increased costs and fragmentation of the NHS.

"If he's refusing to publish that report against the recommendations of the information commissioner, then it's the biggest political cover-up of a generation," he added.

Mr Morris also said a number of Tory MPs had indicated privately that the register should be published. While they were unwilling to sign his Early Day Motion for political reasons, he claimed they had made representations to the Health Secretary. …

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