Statement from Chairman of Great Ormond Street Hospital, 22 July 2017

22 Jul 2017, 5:53 p.m.

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Statement from Mary MacLeod, Chairman of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Mary MacLeod, Chairman of Great Ormond Street Hospital said:

"Great Ormond Street Hospital cares for many thousands of seriously unwell children every year, providing outstanding treatment for those who need it most.

Charlie Gard's case is a heart-breaking one. We fully understand that there is intense public interest, and that emotions run high.

We recognise the tireless advocacy of Charlie's loving parents and the natural sympathy people feel with his situation.

However, in recent weeks the GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance. Staff have received abuse both in the street and online. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life's work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats. Families have been harassed and discomforted while visiting their children, and we have received complaints of unacceptable behaviour even within the hospital itself.

Whatever the strong emotions raised by this case, there can be no excuse for patients and families to have their privacy and peace disturbed as they deal with their own often very stressful situations or for dedicated doctors and nurses to suffer this kind of abuse.

Great Ormond Street Hospital is in close contact with the Metropolitan Police and we will do everything possible to hold to account anybody who is involved in this kind of deplorable behaviour.”