Statement regarding recent media coverage

17 Mar 2020, 7:44 a.m.

A story running across BBC channels today featuring four GOSH families has accused the hospital of not being transparent, covering up when things have gone wrong and failing to learn from mistakes.

These allegations are very serious and we strongly refute them.

We want to reassure all our patients and families that we always look to provide the very best care for them and our focus is always on improving the way we work so we do the right thing by them.

We are very sorry the families at the centre of this story feel they have not been supported by the trust and not got the information they wanted. No family should feel like that.

These are very complex cases and we have conducted thorough investigations into all of them. We have tried to engage with the families to talk through their concerns, have met with three of them and we want to continue our dialogue with them.

As a hospital we treat a large number of patients with some of the most complex health needs in the country including the patients at the centre of this story. We have 260,000 patient contacts a year and many of our patient have multiple diagnoses. For the vast majority of our patients their experience at GOSH is good. We have the lowest rate of complaints in the country, nearly 98% of patients would recommend coming to GOSH and in its recent inspection, the Care Quality Commission rated us outstanding for the quality of care we provide.

We know we don’t always get things right, but we are committed to being open and transparent when things go wrong. By not reporting a complication as a serious incident it does not mean we are avoiding scrutiny or covering anything up and we do not treat serious incident reporting as a discretionary process.

In the case of Amy Allan, we have publicly apologised for the level of care she received and have acknowledged we should have treated her death as a serious incident.

When things do not go as expected we take our responsibility to investigate extremely seriously: we regularly report serious incidents; have a robust complaints process; meet monthly with NHS England to review significant issues relating to quality and safety; update the Care Quality Commission. We also work to share any learnings with other children’s hospitals and feed into the wider NHS.

Looking after very sick children can be incredibly stressful. The burden on families is immense. Our staff come to work to do their best for their patients and their families. However, we do recognise that working in these complex environments can create a challenging culture. Making the hospital a great place to work where we live by our Always Values is a priority for the trust.

The results of our recent staff survey show more staff than ever taking part. We have made improvements in seven out of 11 themes in this year’s survey compared to last year and we saw an increase in our rating for safety culture and health and wellbeing. We are proud of these achievements but appreciate we are on a journey of improvement.