Great Ormond Street Hospital 'failed to save Baby P after doctor's warning a year earlier'

Warning a year before his death: Dr Kim Holt said her fears for Baby P were reported

Warning a year before his death: Dr Kim Holt said her fears for Baby P were reported

Great Ormond Street Hospital was criticised yesterday for failing to prevent the death of Baby P after a doctor revealed she had warned of the risk of a tragedy a year earlier.

The world-famous hospital, which ran the clinic where a medic failed to spot Baby Peter's broken back, offered Dr Kim Holt £120,000 to remain silent about her complaints – but she has refused.

A NHS London report to be published this week into her case is expected to say the complaints 'were well founded'.

Dr Holt was removed from her post after she and three other doctors wrote to management in April 2006 warning of tragedy due to failings including staff shortages and poor record-keeping.

When Baby P was taken to St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham, North London, a year later he was seen by a locum who failed to spot his back was broken – due to a shortage of experienced consultants.

Two days later, the 17-month-old was found dead in his cot with broken ribs, cuts to his head, a missing finger tip, broken teeth, and scores of bruises. His mother, her partner and a lodger have all been jailed for causing or allowing the abuse of the child to happen.

'They were in a panic [after Baby P],' Dr Holt told a Sunday newspaper of senior managers.

'They said I had to withdraw my allegation or the money was off the table. They were trying to buy my silence.'

The 50-year-old, who has 25 years' experience with three medical degrees, said she was prevented from returning to the clinic as she has refused to sign a statement saying all her concerns had been addressed.


Bid for silence: Dr Marsh said she was offered £120,000 to stay quiet about the matter, but refused

Bid for silence: Dr Marsh said she was offered £120,000 to stay quiet about the matter, but refused

'I am not going to be gagged. I must speak about this because it is so wrong,' she added. 'If our concerns had been taken seriously at the time we raised them, then we could have prevented the death of Baby Peter.

'The children had no one else to speak up for them and we felt passionately that we were letting them down. The response of management was hostile and bullying.'

She remains on 'special leave' on full pay.

Two other consultants, Dr Haitham el Basheer and Dr Sethu Wariyar, resigned.

The fourth, Dr Sukanta Banerjee, went off sick but has since returned.

A spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which provided doctors at the clinic and ran it with Haringey Primary Care Trust, denied trying to 'gag' Dr Holt.

Lessons will be learned from 'measured criticisms' in the report, he added.

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