Bereaved families from Bristol and Oldham met with the Secretary of State for Health yesterday (29 Nov) to call for improvements in the way the NHS diagnoses, vaccinates and informs parents about the disease that sadly took their loved ones.
In an emotional meeting, the families – Paul Gentry who lost his daughter Izzy May 2016, Elaine, Andrew and daughter Nicole Zographou whose son and brother George died in August this year and Ricky and Kirsty Ermenekli whose six year old daughter Layla Rose died 9 months ago, shared their meningitis experiences with Mr Hunt explaining how each family felt the health system had failed them.
In responding to the concerns expressed by the families, Mr Hunt acknowledged that the NHS had let them down and apologised for this. He went on to support a proposal that a working group, to include the families and the meningitis charities, be established to review meningitis diagnosis, vaccinations and awareness.
Supported by Meningitis Now, the charity’s CEO, Dr Tom Nutt attended the meeting and said:
“The bravery of these three families in the context of this very important meeting was both humbling and inspiring. Not only did they have the strength of purpose to question and challenge the Health Secretary, they went on to achieve a real step forward in their desire to help protect other families going through the trauma of meningitis."
“We will be working closely with each family and with our counterparts at MRF to ensure that this working group makes a difference and delivers real benefits for the fight against meningitis here in the UK”.
The working group is scheduled to hold its first meeting early in the new year.