UK’s NHS accused of rape victims failure cover-up
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has been accused of covering up a report into failings at a center set up to provide support to rape victims.
According to a confidential report, released by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on Thursday, basic forensic protocols were routinely breached at the Whitechapel Haven in East London.
The report, drafted by Barts Health NHS Trust, found a number of errors in the center’s handling of rape cases, including its failure to pass samples from 93 alleged victim to police forensic teams for examination.
In a statement, the NHS Trust apologized for “inexcusable failings” which led to the dismissal of two staff members from the sexual assault referral center.
However, the Trust insisted that it had not attempted to hide the issues raised in the report.
“We are extremely sorry for the inexcusable failings at the Whitechapel Haven. As soon as we became aware that there was an issue in 2011, we took swift and immediate action to ensure that all the affected samples were re-tested and contacted the individuals involved to offer a full apology, support and counseling,” the statement said.
Whitechapel Haven was closed temporarily last year after the unit’s failings were first made public. In April 2013, the center was reopened under the management of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust offering a reduced service.