THE healthcare trust that runs Westmorland General Hospital has agreed to share an external review into its urology services, following calls for the report's publication.

Peter Duffy, formerly a surgeon at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust's (UHMBT) urology departments, requested a copy of the report, along with the family of a man who died amid failings Mr Duffy blew the whistle over.

Karen Beamer - whose father, Peter Read, died as a result of urology failings and is to be subject to a further inquest - says she tried to obtain a copy of the report, but that the trust ‘was not forthcoming’.

The report was produced as part of the review carried out by the firm InterBe late last year, which examined the professional working culture within UHMBT's urology services.

However, the trust says it will now publish the review's findings in an apparent U-turn.

CEO Aaron Cummins contended this week there was 'no intention not to share' on the part of the trust. No cast-iron date has yet been set for the report's publication.

Bill Kirkup's 2015 review into the maternity scandal at UHMBT - then, the biggest in the NHS’s history - recommended trusts should ‘report openly’ all external investigations into clinical services and governance, which includes sharing the findings of external reports with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

UHMBT said the CQC, which regulates NHS trusts, received the InterBe report earlier this week. The CQC has been contacted for comment.

Mr Duffy's whistleblowing case exposed failings in the trust’s urology services, leading to an external review being commissioned by UHMBT and a police probe being called for by the trust's governors last year.

He said: “The Kirkup Report gave UHMBT an opportunity to start afresh and revisit its governance standards and duty of candour in its dealings with the public, H M Coroner and the regulators, particularly the Care Quality Commission and NHS England.

“Unfortunately my experiences suggest that exactly the same culture that got the trust into so much trouble in the earlier part of the decade still persists.

"It is not something that is unique to UHMBT and I suspect that a similar culture of “cover-up and carry-on” is common to many NHS institutions."

The trust said that, because the InterBe review is an external report, permission would need to be sought for it to be published.

UHMBT's medical director, Shahedal Bari, said this week: "The report by Interbe is an interim report from an external agency on their work within the urology department to improve the culture of the department.

"We have already shared the report with Niche Health and Social Care Consulting, the organisation carrying out an independent external investigation into issues surrounding the service."

James Titcombe, the patient safety campaigner whose son’s death led to the Kirkup Inquiry, said this summer that a review was now needed of whether its recommendations had been implemented.

“It is not acceptable that five years [on], there are still secretive royal college reports and patients are kept in the dark,” he told the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

The HSJ found that more than 60 external reviews - covering possible premature deaths, unnecessary and harmful operations, and rows among doctors putting patients at risk - had remained unpublished by NHS trusts between 2016 to 2019.

Commenting on the legacy of Kirkup this week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “The recommendations to the Trust made in the Kirkup report were meant to apply into the future, not just to those managing the Trust at the time.

“Openness is essential in maintaining safety and preventing any repeat of the tragedies that led to the inquiry.

“It is very disappointing to see the Trust in breach of its duty of candour - this must not happen again.”