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17 June 2016

Trust's response to Verita report

Robert Woolley, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"We welcome the publication of the independent report by Verita, which we commissioned to look at the way we dealt with concerns raised by Ben Condon's parents after he died at our hospital in April 2015. We accept the report's findings in full.

"Our systems and processes didn't work for the Condon family. We are saddened we missed too many opportunities to proactively engage with Ben's parents, to fully answer their questions and to really get a grip of their complaint. We are truly very sorry for adding to Ben's family's distress and apologise to them unreservedly.

"The Board will be going through the report very carefully to build on the actions we have already taken. Actions already undertaken include improvements to the support we provide for families who may sadly experience the unexpected death of a child in hospital. We will develop a comprehensive action plan to address all the issues the report raises and oversee its rapid implementation."


Notes to editors:

  • The Trust Board commissioned an independent investigation into its management response to allegations about staff behaviours related to the death of Ben Condon at Bristol Children's Hospital in April 2015.
  • One of the concerns of the Condon family was that during a break in the child death review meeting, the family stepped outside, and both the Trust's and Ben's parents' audio recorder being used to record the meeting were left running. When the clinicians realised this, one suggested that the recess discussion be deleted. It wasn't deleted, and the parents were told discussion continued whilst they were outside the room, but it raised concerns for Ben's parents about a potential cover-up.
  • Verita was unable to find evidence to either prove or disprove a cover-up. Our own investigations show that there was no intention to deceive, and no cover-up. However, the Trust acknowledges that it is easy to see why the suggestion to delete the section of the audio recording, combined with other missed opportunities in communication, combined to undermine any trust the family had in the hospital.
  • The Trust acknowledges that suggesting that a section of the audio recording be deleted was clearly a serious error of judgement and it has been investigated and appropriate action has been taken with the individuals involved.
  • The Trust is committed to being open and transparent, and to ensure that as many people as possible can access the information in the report if they wish to, the report is available on its website, signposted from the homepage.