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Response to BBC London programme

18 April 2012
Hospital entrance

Great Ormond Street Hospital is a safe, open and high performing Trust which promotes a culture of quality and safety. Staff are encouraged to raise concerns so that they can be addressed.

The Trust strongly refutes any allegations to the contrary that the BBC or its contributors are making in this programme.  Both health regulators have recently inspected the Trust and have uncovered no evidence to support the premise behind the BBC’s allegations.  We need to be clear that the BBC sources include a small number of former employees with personal grievances.

We respond here to the allegations and may publish more information.

Some of the allegations made in this programme are not correct and the programme does not provide a balanced position.

The BBC’s allegations relating to the death of Peter Connelly and the Trust involvement in Haringey

The BBC continue to raise questions with regard to the Trust’s involvement in the tragic death of Peter Connelly, about which there has been significant media coverage and numerous inquiries.  All the questions related to the employment of Dr Al Zayyat have been answered on many occasions as has much of the questioning around the information we provided to various inquiries. The Trust is clear that it provided information appropriately to all relevant bodies and inquiries and has never sought to mislead any inquiry into the death of a child.

The BBC’s latest allegation is that the Trust sought to influence a report produced by the Healthcare Commission, which later became the Care Quality Commission. The HCC report used information from the Sibert report  (an independent report commissioned by the Trust into the practice of Dr Al Zayyat) which the hospital had shared in full with them. The Trust is clear that this allegation is totally unfounded and has provided the BBC with various drafts of the HCC report to show this.  Indeed the final Healthcare Commission report (published May 2009) reflects virtually all the criticisms of the service that were contained in the Sibert report.

The BBC alleges that somehow Great Ormond Street pressurised the independent management review of health that formed part of the second Serious Case Review into the death of Peter Connelly. (May 2009). They also make unfounded allegations that we did not share information. Neither of these allegations are true as confirmed by the authors of the report and the Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Board for Haringey.

The BBC’s allegations relating to raising patient safety concerns


The BBC alleges that some staff claim to have been bullied for raising concerns.

The Trust actively encourages staff to raise any concerns so that we can learn and improve.

In fact the Care Quality Commission in their most recent inspection of the hospital gave every member of staff the opportunity to contact them anonymously to raise any concern. No-one chose to do so. We have also been through a highly rigorous assessment by Monitor, the regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts, who also raised no concerns.

These allegations have been prompted by a small number of staff and former staff who have unrelated grievances and we very much regret the unnecessary concern that will be caused to families and to the overwhelming majority of our  dedicated staff.

Dr Kim Holt continues to argue that she was targeted for raising concerns, but the independent NHS London report in 2009 found no evidence of this.   [NHS London press release] “The report's authors found no evidence to support the allegation that Dr Holt had been deliberately bullied or discriminated against for raising these concerns.” 

In the recent independent survey of patients and parents conducted by Ipsos MORI, 96% of people were satisfied or very satisfied with the care provided by the hospital and 97% of them would recommend the Trust to others. This is not to say that we get everything right and we will always seek to improve.

The BBC’s allegations regarding the Trust’s radiology service


The BBC make a number of allegations concerning the Trust’s radiology service. They take a partisan and one-sided view of issues from two staff who no longer work in the service.   The main contributor, Dr Christine Hall, retired from the Trust in 2006 and has never raised any concern with the Trust since.  Dr Rosendahl  left two years ago and also has not raised any concerns with the Trust. 

Radiology is a safe and high performing service and was recently only the fourth Trust in the country to be accredited by the Imaging Services Accreditation scheme (ISAS).

The BBC make allegations that the department is less skilled than it was previously, particularly around child protection and non-accidental injuries.  We do not accept this criticism. The radiology team do have skills in this area and their work is strongly supported by their colleagues in other departments. The criticism dates back to a former employee who specialised in this area and who left the Trust in 2006.

The Trust did not refer any radiologist to the General Medical Council (GMC), we cannot influence the GMC which is an independent body, but we are obliged to provide information to the GMC when requested.

Contact information

For further information please contact the GOSH-ICH Press Office on 020 7239 3125.

For genuine and urgent out-of-hours queries call switchboard on 020 7405 9200.

Notes to editors

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.

With the UCL Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.

Our charity needs to raise £50 million every year to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. With your help we provide world class care to our very ill children and their families.