Great Ormond Street doctors call for inquiry into 'cover-up'

Senior doctors from Britain's leading children's hospital will today call for independent investigators to be brought in amid mounting accusations of management cover-ups, bullying and falling standards.

Paediatricians from Great Ormond Street Hospital want the Government to order an investigation into allegations that senior managers withheld critical information about the hospital's role in the events leading to the death of Baby Peter Connolly.

In an extraordinary letter today in the medical journal The Lancet, an undisclosed number of Great Ormond Street consultants express "alarm" at the way senior managers have treated clinicians who raise patient safety concerns. The consultants demand "strong ministerial intervention to order an investigations into these matters, including the treatment of whistleblowers".

Pressure has been mounting on the Government to act after the Lib Dem minister and Haringey MP Lynn Featherstone called for the Trust's chief executive, Dr Jane Collins, to resign, accusing her of "covering-up" vital information about the safety of the clinic from which Peter was sent home two days before he died in August 2007.

Ms Featherstone wrote to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, last month demanding an inquiry into Great Ormond Street (GOSH) management after discovering that the most critical sections of the report into the children's clinic GOSH ran in Haringey, were not provided to investigators in the two serious case reviews that followed Peter's death.

Tension between GOSH staff and management has been building since Ms Featherstone exposed the full report, which accepted that doctors were working in a "clinically risky situation" due to staff shortages and poor training, and that the locum doctor, Sabah al-Zayyat, who missed serious injuries on Peter, was inexperienced and should never have been hired.

Mr Lansley last night told The Independent that he would "look into the issues raised" and respond to Ms Featherstone and The Lancet shortly.

Dr Kim Holt, a consultant paediatrician, repeatedly raised safety concerns with GOSH managers after she was employed at the Haringey clinic in 2004. Dr Holt, and thousands of her supporters, maintain that she has remained on “special leave” since late 2007 as punishment for whistleblowing.

An accompanying article by the journal's editor, Richard Horton, details discontent from some senior medical staff about poor leadership, inadequate diagnostic services and a "singular lack of foresight" in planning services by management. Mr Horton believes the only thing protecting GOSH managers is the institution's international reputation.

The belated spotlight on the role health services played in Baby Peter's death has been welcomed by social workers, who were vilified after Peter's death. The first serious case review, chaired by former head of children services at Haringey, Sharon Shoesmith, identified chronic concerns about children's health services in Haringey. The second serious case review, ordered by then children's minister, Ed Ball, after he publicly sacked Ms Shoesmith, virtually ignored the role of the NHS in Peter's death even though 38 out of his 60 contacts had been with health rather than social services.

The contentious report was passed to the Strategic Health Authority, NHS London, in November 2008, but it was destroyed after three days due to "ongoing legal and conduct proceedings", according to a recent freedom of information request by Dr Holt. It is unclear what action, if any, the SHA took after receiving the report, or if any other officials had read it until last month's expose.

A GOSH spokesperson said: "There has been no evidence that anyone has been targeted for raising concerns at the Trust… All members of the Board have personally reviewed the documentation about Baby Peter's death and it is clear that the Trust has never sought to mislead any inquiry into the death of a child. The Board fully supports the management team."

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence