Great Ormond Street Hospital 'withheld Baby P facts'

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) did not disclose key information to the original inquiry into what happened to Baby Peter, it has been claimed.

The author of the first serious case review into the tragedy said she was kept in the dark about potentially important facts about the hospital's contact with Peter Connelly.

Edi Carmi claims she was not told that Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, the locum doctor who examined Peter two days before his death, was not on the specialist register for paediatrics and had little experience and training in child protection.

Baby Peter died, aged 17 months, in his blood-splattered cot on 3 August 2007 after months of abuse, despite being on the at-risk register of Haringey Council and being seen at least 60 occasions by professionals.

Ms Carmi claims she was not given a full picture of the problems at St Ann's clinic in Tottenham, north London, where Baby Peter was seen after waiting for an appointment for three months.

And she said she was not made aware that the four consultants working there a year before raised concerns with Great Ormond Street about the risky clinical environment.

They complained about the high workload and shortage of nursing and secretarial back-up, and said they were isolated from local hospitals and often examined children without knowing their full background including records of previous admissions to hospital.

Ms Carmi told BBC London: "I would have wanted to see exactly an analysis by GOSH of the problems there were in that clinic and how these impacted on the service provided to Peter to be able to make the right judgement."

Image caption Peter Connelly died in August 2007 after suffering months of abuse

During the serious case review process GOSH commissioned its own independent report of Dr Al-Zayyat's examination of Peter.

But this report was never passed on in full to the serious case review. Instead the hospital provided a summary.

Among the details this omitted were the concerns about Dr Al Zayyat's training and inexperience in child protection, and the fact that St Ann's clinic, the main paediatric centre in the borough of Haringey, did not have a named doctor for child protection.

BBC London has also learned that GOSH appears to have broken government guidelines, designed to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure transparency, in its original response to the serious case review.

The doctor who wrote the hospital's individual management review - the first assessment of the health care provided to Peter - was in charge of the troubled St Ann's clinic, so was effectively judging herself and her unit.

Dr Sukanta Banerjee was the senior paediatrician in Haringey and Dr Al-Zayyat's boss.

GOSH also placed Dr Banerjee on the serious case review panel which worked alongside the independent author, answering questions and clarifying areas of dispute.

Ms Carmi says there was the clear potential for a conflict of interest, but insists she did not know the relationships at the time.

The chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Dr Jane Collins told BBC London: "Much of what was said in that [Edi Carmi] interview was simply not correct.

"All the relevant information was sent to the chairman of the serious case review."

She said the independent review carried out by the hospital was not published in full as GOSH was concerned about the confidentiality of other children involved in that inquiry, and because of employment law affecting an employee.

She added: "We absolutely agree that when anything goes wrong we must be open about it, and we believe that passionately as an organisation.

"Baby Peter's death was a tragedy and we must learn from it."

The first serious case review was judged as "inadequate" by Ofsted, largely because the individual management reviews produced by the health agencies and Haringey children's services were deemed poor.

Ms Carmi says she is happy to be judged on her work, carried out on the basis of all she was able to find out at the time.

Peter's mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker and Barker's brother Jason Owen were all jailed for their part in Baby Peter's death.

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