Jeremy Hunt's announcement did not go far enough, said Frank Robinson, whose 20-year-old son died after being misdiagnosed by A&E staff at Stafford hospital in 2006.
"I feel it could have gone further, particularly with the legal duty of candour, which he shied away from [Francis recommended that the duty of candour should apply to all NHS staff individually but this was rejected Hunt] … we were kept in the dark as to what had happened. Had there been that legal duty, that would not have happened."
John Moore-Robinson was discharged after a cycling accident, but died of a ruptured spleen the following day. The hospital did not disclose documents to an inquest the following year and it was only in 2008 that the family found out there were other documents relating to the hospital's own inquiry into the incident that had not been revealed.
As to the proposed charge of "wilful neglect" for organisations and individuals, Robinson said: "I think that it is going to be very hard to implement and police. The duty of candour could have included that, but this is just going to water down the duty of candour. I feel a little let down by it all. It has been a very expensive exercise." Robinson said a second inquest into his son's death is to take place in Leicestershire next year.
A couple who were misled by another NHS hospital over the care of their stillborn baby also thought Hunt should have gone further though he had taken "a step in the right direction".
The health ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, was scathing last year about the way that the trust running Leighton hospital, Crewe, had behaved over the death of their son in 2009, accusing the management of making "highly misleading" statements and finding it guilty of maladministration.
The father, known as Mr D, told the Guardian on Tuesday: "We would have liked to have seen a duty of candour on all individuals within the NHS. I would have liked to have seen that backed up by the law as well – a criminal offence to collude, to cover up." However, the actions taken by Hunt were "a recognition this corrosive culture exists out there".