Letter: Conflicts in inner-city health care

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Sir: The article by Marianne Macdonald raises more questions than it answers and certainly does not justify her conclusion that Haringey social services must shoulder 'much of the blame' for the deaths of Jason and Natalia. Responsibility belongs to their neighbours who failed to act on much clearer evidence of the danger than was available to any of the professionals.

Nor is it reasonable to assert that the social services department 'failed to read police statements' when the department has apparently said it 'never saw' these. Whatever may have happened to the written communication, it is surely more remarkable that the police failed to make personal contact with someone in social services following the serious knife incident.

As many expensive inquiries have shown, it is easy, with hindsight, to see exactly which child should be rescued, and when. But at the time, trying to balance quite legitimate, but competing, interests, and predict how circumstances will change and people will behave, the answers are never as obvious as Ms Macdonald would have us believe.

Yours faithfully,

TREVOR HARVEY

Eastbourne,

East Sussex

9 January

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