Great Ormond Street Hospital – senior management must take responsibility over Baby Peter

So – Dr Al-Sayyat – the doctor who famously failed to diagnose Baby Peter’s broken back and broken ribs – is suing Great Ormond Street Hospital over her dismissal.

For all the criticism over her behaviour, that shouldn’t let Great Ormond Street off the hook. As far as I can tell Great Ormond Street’s management has a lot of responsibility for the hospital’s failings during the Baby P tragedy.

Yes, it was Dr Al-Sayyat who saw Baby Peter, failed to spot major injuries and was then dismissed following an investigation. But just as with Sharon Shoesmith – who wasn’t the actual front social worker visiting the house but paid the proper price for overseeing a system that failed so badly – so the senior people in charge at Great Ormond Street should have to take responsibility for a system that failed so badly.

Jane Collins (CEO), Dr Elliman (designated safeguarding doctor) and Jane Elias (senior management) are the key people at Great Ormond Street, who are commissioned by Haringey Primary Care Trust (PCT) to be responsible for running the children’s health service for Haringey.

The Evening Standard recently published a damning letter from four senior paediatricians to Elliman and Elias over desperately serious concerns about the safety of children at risk in the borough. Moreover, they say in their letter that their concerns are being ignored by management. And when the letter was published – Jane Collins went on TV and rather than facing up to the issue and taking action, she dodged around.

So – there is still a job to be done to ensure that the senior management at Great Ormond Street are properly held to account.

Between 2006 and 2008 out of four senior paediatricians, two resigned, one was off sick and one was on special leave. That left the staffing at Great Ormond Street’s services to Haringey’s children at danger level. And I only got those figures after digging and digging to find out why it was a locum doctor – Dr Al-Sayyat – who had looked at Baby Peter.

Those responsible for there being dangerously low staffing levels in such a vital service need to pay the same price as those in Haringey Council did for their part in Baby Peter’s tragic death.

0 thoughts on “Great Ormond Street Hospital – senior management must take responsibility over Baby Peter

  1. Dr Al-Sayyat got the only decision fitting given her role in the affair which was beyond defence. I am not convinced that the role of the hospital was as central to the Baby Peter failure as the role of other agencies. Its engagement seems to have been much less extensive.

  2. Too often we have seen parliament, the GMC, the general public and the media wrongly condemn doctors in child protection work. Often those who condemn have no real knowledge of the strength (or weakness) of the evidence on which they make their assertions.

    Dont be in such a hurry to condemn and scapegoat.
    We need to understand more about the natural human response to these sort of crimes.

    We need to avoid knee jerk responses.

  3. Pingback: NHS Whistleblowing shouldn’t come at such personal cos | Health & Science Blog | FT.com