When I found out that the last doctor to see Baby Peter failed to recognise a broken back and ribs – like the rest of the nation I thought she must be a terrible doctor. And she clearly was. However, I also read that she was a locum – and ever since then I have been digging and digging to find out why there was a locum and what lay beneath.
I found out. And whilst I have no doubt that Haringey Labour Council and Sharon Shoesmith were first in line for retribution being the lead agency and lead individual – I have also had no doubt that there were other agencies who were just as bad.
There was a locum because the consultant pediatricians, four of them, in the children’s health department in Haringey (commissioned by Haringey PCT and run by Great Ormond Street – GOSH) had either left, been off permanently sick or on special leave! On digging I found that these doctors had raised their concerns with GOSH and been ignored. Yet again – management taking no notice of dangers being flagged up by professionals – just as the police and a senior social worker at Haringey raised concerns that Baby P should be taken away from the family.
I raised it on my blog. I got Norman Lamb (Lib Dem Health Spokesperson) to raise it in a health debate. I raised it myself in a speech in the chamber. But it is only now that investigative journalist for the Evening Standard, Andrew Gilligan, has found out the real detail of the story and broken it in the paper that the part that GOSH and Haringey PCT played in Baby P’s death is coming to light. He actually has a copy of the letter to the management at GOSH saying that they don’t believe the management has taken their concerns seriously and listing the reasons that children’s lives were at risk.
And yesterday – the Health Care Commission report into Baby P’s death also came out with findings that make it clear that there were systemic and individual failings in GOSH and the Health Trusts – all scandalous stuff.
What has been going on in children’s health in Haringey is practically a mirror image of what was going on in Haringey Council, Children’s Services and the Safeguarding Board.
I hope that this now all comes to light and that equally drastic and appropriate action is taken.
Needless to say – I will be writing to Ed Balls in this regard.
Was in London yesterday, bought the Standard, not surprised at what was reported by Gilligan and Goodchild. But in an area always studied in detail, there is a lesson: very often when an aeroplane crashes, there is not just one reason, but a series of individually minor problems linked together cause the crash – if any one of those problems ahd been remedied, the crash may well not have happened.
Totally expected – it has been clear for some time that this problem is systemic in nature and not the failings of one or two individuals. Concentrate on individuals and you get scapegoats. Focus on systems and you get solutions.
I have read a lot of whose to blame but no real solution seems to be present. The bottom line is management needs to listen to the people who know, and polictical agendas need to disappear. We need to focus on protecting the children and not the family. More people need to speak up, what if a doctor took responsiblity and ordered a full body scan for this poor child, would all his injuries have been visible. just looking at his hands, fingertips cut and the poor fingernails ripped out should have been a big flag. More management needs to work the trenches so to speak, follow a doctor around and see what they do before you dismiss their concerns. I say to err on the side of the child if there is any doubt of the child’s safety.