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Listening event on the Hughes Report publication

Esther Kuria 29 Feb 2024

The Hughes report follows a review by Baroness Cumberlege (‘First do no harm’ 2020), commissioned by Mr Jeremy Hunt when he was Health Minister, that separately reviewed outcomes of three historical health interventions - pelvic mesh, sodium valproate & Primodos. One of the outcomes from the Cumberlege report was to appoint a Patient Safety Commissioner who would take forward the recommendations from the Cumberlege review.

On 7th of February 2024, I had the privilege of attending a listening event on the publication of the Hughes report in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

The session consisted of live spoken accounts by three affected parties; one pelvic mesh patient and two mothers prescribed sodium valproate treatment during their pregnancies. All the cases presented shared a common theme; not being listened to by the health professionals and as a result patients experienced significant harm and suffering.

The Hughes report produced recommendations both financial and non-financial for the government to action in compensation to affected patients. The compensations will involve collaborative working of government departments and local authorities to improve access to public services for affected patient.

The report proposed a two-stage financial redress scheme compromising an interim and main scheme. The interim scheme to be awarded directly to harmed patients a fixed sum by way of financial redress and these payments should start in 2025. The Main Scheme will be more bespoke financial support it will follow an application process that will be straight forward, accessible and non-adversarial.


Listening to the report I found myself reflecting on my role as patient advocate, I was surprised by how unaware I was of the suffering of the patients over the last decade & how my ignorance at the time may have adversely impacted these patients’ experiences.

Moving forward how can we promote patient advocacy?

The current nursing challenges of recruitment & retention coupled with the increasing volume of patient numbers will require new and creative strategies on how to support nurses in advocating for patients going forward.

The use of technology, especially social media, has been instrumental among patient groups in increasing awareness of issues of interest and providing a loud patient voice for informing and educating the public. I see an important role of the nurse in patient advocacy in the future, aligning intellectual curiosity with continuous lifelong learning, informing education on contemporary health issues, and sign posting patients to relevant and robust resources for help and support.

Esther Kuria

Committee member

Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist Gynaecology, University College London Hospitals

Esther Kuria is a nurse, midwife, sonographer, accredited advanced nurse practitioner and independent prescriber with 30 years’ experience in Nursing of which 15 have been in Women’s Health.

Page last updated - 21/03/2024