GOSH – update

Finally, on the last day of the parliamentary term, I receive the Secretary of State for Health’s response to my request for an investigation into the withholding of information from the 1st Serious Case Review by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

It’s a no! Dissappointed – yes. Surprised – no.

The Secretary of State has taken the view that things have been put right since the dreadful events surrounding Peter Connelly’s death – and that although the 1st Serious Case Review into Baby Peter’s death was inadequate – a 2nd was ordered and carried out and that if the Chair of the 2nd Serious Case Review, Graham Badman, did not get to see the Sibert Report – that is between him and Dr Collins.  The Secretary of State concludes: ”I do not believe it would be beneficial to revisit these events once more’.

The Secretary of State did say he would look into the issues I raised and he has done so and come to a view.

My own view is that without a ‘judge-led’ inquiry into the withholding of the full Sibert Report from the 1st Serious Case Review and the consequences thereof –  ‘witnesses’ will not speak out for fear of reprisals or because they are under gagging orders – and only the protection of giving evidence under oath would allow them to do so. So – yes – I am disappointed.

In all of this I am acting as a local MP and fighting for justice for Dr Kim Holt who is still (after nearly four years) on special leave as the whistle blower who spoke out about the conditions at St Ann’s Clinic where Baby Peter was taken and his injuries not recognised. Despite a NHS London independent investigation recommending her reinstatement by GOSH – she remains on full pay at taxpayers’ expense (an excellent paediatrician going to waste because she spoke out).

I simply observe, however, that it in terms of the current scandal over hacking being exposed despite the power of the press, the police and politicians – the truth is outing!

We will just have to see what happens next.

0 thoughts on “GOSH – update

  1. Thanks Helen.

    I meet with my new employer tomorrow; no longer employed by GOSH, ( has been a TUPE transfer) and I hope that they will do the right thing and that there will be a positive end to this. All I want is to get back to my post.

    I agree with Lynn that there are parallels to the hacking scandal in that despite the efforts over a number of years to avoid dealing with the underlying culture, and clear mismanagement (that leaves clinical staff on such prolonged periods of leave at tax payers expense) that the public are now beginning to see that this is not right. Not right for patient care most importantly.

    As said in the other blog, gagging was most definitely wrong in these circumstances.


  2. Dear Lynne

    Firstly, well done for pursuing Kim’s case so thoroughly and persistently.
    Secondly, it seems quite clear to me that the treatment of Kim Hold has been totally outrageous, and that no one has been called to account for it is nothing short of scandalous. What does it take for some clear action to be taken against the people who have persecuted a highly skilled and dedicated doctor who was brave enough to speak out about serious potential problems? Anyone who has followed Kim’s case, and others like it, is likely to be struck by the similar experiences of a number of whistleblowers in the NHS as outlined by the recent investigation by Phil Hammond in Private Eye. It is in no ones interest that people who are brave enough to speak out should be suppressed, at taxpayer’s expense, to protect the reputations senior management.

    Keep up the good work!


  3. Unfortunately, Simon, things aren’t quite so clear as they are presented by Lynne Featherstone.
    The independent report is quite helpful with the facts:

    Click to access KHOLT_021209.pdf

    It makes it clear that Dr Holt wasn’t at work when Peter died because she’d fallen out with her medical colleagues. Another round of mediation was recommended.

    Amazing how people can re-write history!

  4. Thank you James for referring us back to to the NHS L report.

    The report does clarify that the management of the situation in the team at St Anns was inadequate and that I had good reason to feel aggrieved when I had raised concerns in good faith not to be in my post.

    I was treated negatively for raising concerns and challenging management; I did raise a formal complaint against management. I have very good witnesses who state that I was seen as a ring leader of objections to cuts to the service in 2006.

    NHS L confirmed that I am a committed doctor and that there was no evidence that I had done anything at all but act in children’s best interests. After all this is our professional duty under the GMC, to put our patients first.

    I do not think that I would have survived if that had not been the case.

    The issue which is relevant is that if you raise concerns about management of a service then that is clearly something that will not please those who are responsible for that service. We now know through the hard work of an investigative journalist that several people also sought to withhold information from the first serious case review. Hence Lynns allegations and concerns. She has had sight of all the documentation and was intimately involved in the NHS L investigation.

    The details of what took place in mediation are subject to confidentiality, and I hope that you do not know what happened and the outcome?
    If so please let me know because someone has breached the contract.

    I think also the attempt to get me to retract my concerns for money is an issue of serious concern. This is as I am sure that you know against Dept of Health guidance.

    There are many issues that are of major public interest and are not goin to go away whether I go back to my post or not.

  5. My concerns in relation to GOSH are as follows:

    (a) an innocent life has been lost through careless workers within the medical field;
    (b) the medical field was invented to save lives and not to neglect those in need, especially the vulnerable, such as babies, toddlers, children, severely disabled and part of the elderly society; and
    (c) after an innocent new life has been lost for The Secretary of State to turn around and say the problems have been dealt with and we will look no further.

    Of course, if the baby’s parents were responsible people the baby would still be alive today. Once ill-treatment is suspected the baby is automatically placed with foster carers or placed in a children’s home – why wasn’t this done?

    The education social workers will take charge of a child not receiving sufficient education, why wasn’t the baby given the same attention?

    Why didn’t the Police visit to investigate suspected ill-treatment?

    Babies should visit a baby clinic, if not, the babies receive a visit at their home – was this done?

    We have a lot more routes to investigate in relation to poor BabyP that have not as yet been investigated.


  6. I believe almost every site of each Trust is scandalous though some cases catch public scrutiny.

    Organizations such as DH/NHS and Regulatory bodies work closely and encourage staff to speak up for their patients but covertly discourage them when the staff is subjected to reprisals and a whistleblower is left all alone.

    There is no easy way to whistleblow but i believe things are gradually moving positively but its still a long way to go.

  7. All I know comes from reading the NHS London report. I don’t know any of the people involved, but the report includes:

    “A good example of how communication deteriorated was in the facilitation / mediation meeting of September 2007. All involved found this an unsuccessful process and Dr KH must bear her part of the responsibility for this along with the others involved.”

    “In short we think that most, if not all, people here were well intentioned and we cannot say that there was seriously culpable behaviour on the part of any. What does seem to have been lacking is an ability to “stand in the other person’s shoes” and this is an aspect where mediative skills could be very constructively productive.”

    “We recommend that the Trust engage the services of a person who is expert and skilled in the field of conflict resolution and mediation in the workplace, with a view to establishing, if possible, a solution reasonably acceptable to all by which Dr KH can return to work”

    It is a shame that Dr Holt has apparently not been able to follow the final recommendation of the report:

    “We believe Dr KH should be willing to accept our findings that she has not been targeted for speaking out”

  8. Thank you James

    1. Not one person culpable for the dysfunctional team- I was the messenger

    2. That whether I am able to accept that I wasn’t targeted depends upon the manner in which the process going forward which the authors laid with the leadership of the Trust.

    I am sure that you will agree the culture of an organisation depends upon the leadership of that organisation.

    Best wishes


  9. It says at the top-right of this web page that you’re more interested in telling what you see as the truth than in toeing the party line. But according to Pink News the Government Equality Office hasn’t responded to enquiries about its reaction to the EHRC statement:-


    Pink News: “The Government Equalities Office has also refused to give its views on whether there should be opt-outs for religious workers who refuse to serve gay people.”

    So, Lynne, what do you think about the EHRC statement? Do you think Trevor Phillips and John Wadham should resign? Please, please, please answer.

  10. As parts of the NHS L report have been quoted; I thought that I might lift the very final paragraph for those who have not read the full report;

    18.6 As for Dr KH we found her a highly intelligent, articulate doctor who is committed to her work. She clearly believes she has been treated badly in that she has been made as she sees it to believe that she has done something wrong. She has pursued this matter with considerable energy which at times may have meant she has appeared intransigent or obsessive. We however do not think that would be the right way to view her actions although, in the same way as we consider that GOSH should change its approach to the issue of her return to work, equally we believe Dr KH should be willing to accept our findings that she has not been targeted for speaking out and so mitigate some of her evident mistrust of GOSH’s motivation. Whether she is able to do so may depend on her perception of how her employer responds to the findings and recommendations in this report. end.

    This is the heart of the matter.

    Within weeks of the report being published my job was advertised in the BMJ; this is where the real media interest started, and that was January 2010.
    Lynn met with the Board of GOS at that point and her committment to establishing the truth followed from her meeting with them and with understanding how my employment as a committed doctor who raised concerns had been dealt with. Please also remember that the attempted use of gagging clause in a compensation offer to me was inappropriate.This is the really big public interest issue that needs talking about repeatedly until they are completely banned and there is proper accountability if they are used to try and silence staff.


  11. Looks like hopefully I shall be able to get back to my profession soon.
    Situation is moving forward. I want others who are struggling to take heart and not give up. I think that there will be a positive change for the better, and that despite all of the grief over the past four years, things are looking up.