The families of Harold Shipman’s victims have been let down by the government, claims Greater Manchester Police boss Tony Lloyd.
Mr Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner, hit out at the government’s failure to implement promised changes in the wake of the Shipman murders during their ‘botched’ reorganisation of the NHS.
Following the murders, Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry advised appointing medical assessors to local communities to review and countersign death certificates.
A 2002 review, by Tom Luce, also urged independent examiners of death certificates for England, Wales and Northern Ireland – a step he now says has been ‘deferred indefinitely’.
Mr Lloyd said: “The families of the victims murdered by Harold Shipman were made promises by the government that changes would be put in place to stop this ever happening again.
“Those changes have not been made. Those promises have not been kept.
“The reforms are in place on paper, but the fact that they have never been implemented is shocking. It seems that these important improvements have been forgotten during the botched reorganisation of the NHS. This is unacceptable.
“The government needs to take urgent action to remedy this. They owe it those families who lost loved ones at Shipman’s hands.”
The death certificates Harold shipman drew up for his victims went unchallenged for nearly three decades. He was imprisoned for murder in 2000.
The doctor was jailed for life for murdering 15 patients and forging the will of one, but a public inquiry later ruled he had killed at least 250 patients over 23 years.
He later killed himself in prison, aged 57, in January 2004.
The president of the Royal College of Pathologists, Dr Suzy Lishman, said the government’s failure to introduce a reformed death certificate system was ‘incomprehensible’. Reforms would protect people and give confidence to many who have lost loved ones.
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