Cover-up led to 44 baby deaths

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The Independent Online
FORTY-FOUR MORE babies died because of an alleged cover-up by the medical establishment, a public inquiry was told yesterday.

Parents from the Bristol Heart Children's Action Group believed it involved the Department of Health, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Bristol Royal Infirmary, the inquiry into the Bristol heart babies scandal was told by their counsel, Richard Lissack QC.

The claims were made at the end of yesterday's hearing in which the former president of the Royal College, Sir Terence English gave evidence. He will appear again on Monday.

Mr Lissack said the alleged cover-up lasted for three years to 1995 when the scandal waspublicised. He told the panel chairman, Professor Ian Kennedy, that the parents had told the Secretary of State for Health Frank Dobson at a meeting in April last year that they suspected a cover- up. "All three bodies I have mentioned knew at the highest level that babies were dying in unprecedented numbers in Bristol, yet nothing was done about it."

The council admitted Sir Terence was central to the events as the former president of the Royal College and as a member of a key NHS group which designated Bristol as acentre forheart surgery on children.