Statement from Renu Daly of Hudgell Solicitors, in relation to the findings of the independent investigation into governance arrangements in the paediatric haematology and oncology service at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, conducted by Verita.
Just under a year ago, Dr Myles Bradbury was convicted of sexual offences against numerous children, many of whom were gravely ill and were in his care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
He admitted more than 20 offences relating to the sexual abuse of 18 young boys, offences which went totally undetected by management and staff for four years.
Such was the scale of offending, seriousness of the crimes committed, and concern over public protection, we called for a full and independent inquiry into how Bradbury’s crimes had been able to go undetected for so long, and to ascertain the full extent of the abuse that occurred.
Today, on initial reflection, it is our view, and that of families we represent, that this independent review by Verita has not been investigated as deeply as we had all hoped.
Although there has been recognition that the chaperone policy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital was ‘clearly inadequate’, we are disappointed that the investigation saw only 48 people interviewed, given Bradbury had contact with hundreds of vulnerable young children, all of whom were placed at risk by the inadequate policies in place.
It was initially suggested that there may be up to 800 potential victims, so the sample investigated was very small indeed.
It is clear from the findings of this report, in that no member of staff at the hospital was specifically tasked with monitoring policies on chaperones and intimate examinations, that it was easy for Bradbury to carry out these offences, and feel confident that he would not be captured doing so.
Indeed, it was in fact the grandmother of one of his patients, and nobody at the hospital itself, who first raised the alarm and complained to the hospital.
The report says the policies around chaperones and flexible appointments have already been tightened up, with further improvements suggested, and that is certainly welcomed.
We have significant concerns however with the suggestion that flexibility is required, which would effectively compromise the safeguarding of children being treated.
Rigid policies and procedures across the board within the NHS are an absolute necessity in relation to examinations of young people to ensure offences of this appalling nature are never repeated.
Close to a year after Bradbury was quite rightly handed a lengthy jail sentence, we are still no closer to finding the true extent and scale of his offending, and given the apparent lack of depth in this investigation, we believe the effectiveness of the recommendations made in the report to be questionable.