Great Ormond Street Hospital under fire over claims it covered up blunders

Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone today called for Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), to resign after the BBC published evidence that key criticisms of the hospital were withheld from an inquiry into the death of Baby Peter. In a further twist today, claims by the hospital that they subsequently did provide all the evidence to a second investigation were denied by the person who ran that investigation.

An investigation by BBC London found that Great Ormond Street Hospital did not pass on to the first Serious Case Review into the death of Baby Peter several key findings of its own review into the St Ann’s Clinic, which had an important and tragic role in the failures to protect him.

As the BBC says of its Great Ormond Street Hospital investigation:

The BBC London investigation reveals the following key findings and criticisms were left out:

  • the head of the unit Dr Sukanta Bannerjee considered it a “clinically risky situation”
  • the arrangements for seeing child protection cases there caused “grave concern”
  • there was a “clearly unacceptable” four-month delay in Peter’s appointment
  • the doctor who examined Peter should not have been appointed by Gosh because she had “little experience and training in child protection”
  • there were “significant concerns” in two of only four previous child protection cases she had seen there.

Even worse, Great Ormond Street Hospital responded to the BBC claiming that the full findings were passed on to the second Serious Case Review into the death of Baby Peter, ordered after the first one was revealed to be deeply flawed. Yet Graham Badman, who chaired the second inquiry, told the BBC that he had never seen them.

Alas, the reaction of the Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Chairwoman to all of this has been to say there’s no problem: “The trust board has complete confidence in Dr Collins, she is a first class CEO”.

Moreover, Lynne Featherstone has accused the hospital of issuing a misleading statement to the press, writing on her blog today that:

In their statement they say they met me about my concerns. No – they met me about concerns about one of my constituents (one of the four paediatric consultants who was put on special leave because she raised concerns about the danger to children in St Ann’s Hospital). That meeting was not about the withholding of information from the Serious Case Review. And moreover – even that meeting was only granted after Baroness Blackstone (Chair of Great Ormond Street Board) had refused to meet me on my own without Dr Collins present. I have the emails!

Haringey was rightly in the spotlight as the lead agency in the wake of the Baby P tragedy – but perhaps that spotlight detracted from the terribly dangerous conditions in which vulnerable children were being left by the management failures by GOSH…

I have called for an investigation into the withholding of this vital information and wait to see whether real justice will be done.

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