Response to Offline National Health Service London Report. Your column did not just repeat
This volume of work led the Coroner to Featherstone’s allegations. It also
about Great Ormond hold that the death of Peter Connelly went on to postulate just why this Published Online
Street Hospital had been so thoroughly investigated alleged “cover up” might have June 27, 2011
that a further investigation would happened. You suggest the Trust’s 6736(11)60998-7
We are responding to your Offline serve no useful purpose. application to become a Foundation
column of June 18 (p 2068),1 in which Have the right lessons been learned? Trust as one reason. Our application
you repeat allegations made by Lynne The action plan arising from the is irrelevant. We would not mislead
Featherstone, Member of Parliament, death of Peter Connelly includes any enquiry, whatever the reason.
that Great Ormond Street Hospital recommendations from all the above When the Sibert report was sent to
(GOSH) withheld vital information processes and is constantly updated in us in May, 2008, and the criminal
from enquiries into the tragic death of light of professional and government trial was about to take place, the Trust
Peter Connelly. Your article was highly advice. There is clearly an ongoing was not in a position actively to apply
speculative and ill-informed. debate about child protection and, for Foundation Trust status because
We are shocked that The Lancet sadly, despite these best efforts, society of financial uncertainty about the
would publish this piece without first still fails to protect some children. withdrawal of our central research
contacting the Trust. Featherstone did Have those who managed (and funding. The application process was
not check her facts with us in advance continue to manage) children’s services formally restarted in October, 2009.
and neither did you. The Lancet has at GOSH and its associated facilities This particular theory falls apart once
always supported an evidence-based been held properly responsible for the you know the timetable.
approach to medical care; sadly this quality of care they delivered? This It does not matter whether the
piece did not reflect that approach. Trust has always apologised for its death of a child occurs in Westminster
Featherstone’s allegations about the failings in the care of Peter Connelly or Wigan, agencies and individuals
Trust’s failure to share information and acknowledged that it did not get need to own up to their faults and
are incorrect and unsubstantiated everything right, but it is hard to see draw lessons for the future. This is
by the evidence. All members of the the value of further investigations and exactly how this Trust has behaved
Trust Board, including us, reviewed the scrutiny over and above those listed. in its response to the tragic death of
documentary evidence in response to We employed a number of doctors Peter Connelly.
each of her claims and could identify in Haringey after 2003, and took over We are co-Medical Directors of Great Ormond Street
no intention by the then hospital the rest of the service in 2008, after Hospital for Children NHS Trust.
management to hide anything. We Peter Connelly had been killed. We *Barbara Buckley, Martin Elliott
concluded that reasonable decisions have worked extremely hard to make email@example.com
were made about the information sent things better for children. Earlier this
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
to the first Serious Case Review and year (February, 2011), the Care Quality NHS Trust, London WC1N 3JH, UK
that the full Sibert report was shared Commission and Ofsted published a 1 Horton R. Offline: “The depth of the
with the second Serious Case Review. report2 showing that there had been deception”? Lancet 2011; 377: 2068.
Everyone seems to have missed that “significant and sustained improve- 2 Care Quality Commission, Ofsted. Inspection
of safeguarding and looked after children
the highly critical Care Quality Com- ment”3 in the services to safeguard services: London Borough of Haringey. http://
mission report in 2009 reproduces children in Haringey. Recently, the www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxcare_providers/la_
the Sibert criticisms and recommen- service has been transferred to (accessed June 27, 2011).
dations, not least because the Sibert Whittington Health. 3 Ofsted. Children’s services assessment. http://
report had been openly shared with We know that a great many of our www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxcare_providers/la_
them by us. staff—doctors, nurses, and others— (accessed June 27, 2011).
You ask three questions: are incredibly angry at the way the
Have the events that led to the reputation of the hospital and its
death of Peter Connelly been fully and Chief Executive Jane Collins have been
transparently investigated? There has called into question. It is no surprise
been a criminal trial, two Serious to us that there was such personal
Case Reviews (unusually published support for her, and the Trust Board, at
in full), the Joint Area Review and a recent senior staff meeting. The fact
follow-up, a specific Care Quality is that people who know Collins have
Commission report, two General absolute faith in her personal integrity
Medical Council hearings, and several and her commitment to the quality
other investigations such as the 2009 and safety of patients’ care.
www.thelancet.com Published online June 27, 2011 DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60998-7 1