You often carry reports of the Solicitors Regulation Authority intervening in the practices of solicitors. It seems that this may leave the authority little time for some of its other responsibilities, or perhaps it has a ‘too difficult’ tray?
Recommendation 274 of the Francis report on the Stafford Hospital Inquiry was: ‘There is an urgent need for unequivocal guidance to be given to hospital trusts and their legal advisers and those handling the disclosure of information to coroners, patients and families, as to the priority to be given to openness over any perceived material interest.’
The government accepted this recommendation.
For over a year I have been asking the SRA to provide this guidance. After much procrastination it has said that it is not going to do so ‘imminently’. As the recommendation in the Francis report was accepted 18 months ago, the authority has declined to meet the ‘urgent need’ for guidance.
I wrote to the chair of the SRA four months ago and received an acknowledgment from the board secretary that the chair has asked for some advice on the issue and I would receive a further response in due course. Despite reminders, no substantive response has been forthcoming.
I am only concerned with one recommendation in the report, but one does wonder whether, despite the expense of these inquiries, and promises by ministers that stable doors will be shut and matters will never be mishandled again, how many of the recommendations accepted by the government are actually followed through.
Michael Orlick, Birmingham