The solicitor representing the victims of a paedophile doctor jailed for 22 years for abusing gravely ill young boys in his care today called for a ‘full and independent inquiry’ into how his crimes went undetected for four-and-a-half-years.
Cambridgeshire children’s doctor Myles Bradbury was jailed in December after admitting sexually abusing 18 boys in his care, whilst working as a paediatrician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
However, Renu Daly, a solicitor with clinical negligence specialists Neil Hudgell Solicitors, who is representing the families of a number of victims, believes the court case only ‘scratched the surface’ of the issue.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, she said families had been left short of answers, and revealed she has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for a full inquiry, saying only that will demonstrate transparency in the NHS, and a willingness to be open following such scandals.
“Immediately following Bradbury’s sentencing there was talk of an independent inquiry, but none of the families we are representing have so far been informed of one taking place, and that is simply not acceptable,” said Miss Daly.
“The families feel they have received very little support since Bradbury’s offending came to light and regard an independent inquiry as a minimum first step in the process of coming to terms with what has happened.
“The fundamental question of how he was able to abuse young children for so long without detection whilst working at Addenbrooke’s still remains unanswered.
“An inquiry should explore the full extent of his offending whilst working in the NHS, whether all his victims have since been informed, and if his crimes should have been identified by his employers at an earlier date.
“Whilst his long sentence was welcomed, the court case only scratched the surface of this matter. The victim impact statement prepared by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the criminal proceedings, and published on its website, suggests that at least 800 potential victims were identified.
“In the context of recent scandals within the NHS and its track record of investigating itself, public confidence requires a full and independent inquiry.”
Bradbury admitted 25 offences involving boys aged 10 to 16 whom he had treated while working as a paediatric haematologist at the hospital.
Amongst the families Miss Daly is representing are victims who were not part of the original police investigation and court case, and she says an inquiry could give more the confidence to come forward.
“Given Bradbury was carrying out these offences over a four-and-a-half year period, and the evidence of how parents were completely unaware that he was abusing their children, it would not be a surprise if yet more victims came forward,” she said.
“It has been a big decision for all of the families who have made complaints to do so. For some there has been a feeling of wanting to put it all in the past and shut what has happened out of their lives.
“However, the families of the children we are representing feel the hospital should be held accountable for these grotesque sexual assaults, which were carried out at a time when he was required to provide clinical care for their children.”
Neil Hudgell Solicitors is to pursue civil claims against Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, on behalf of victims, claiming it was liable for Bradbury’s abuse of his patients.
Miss Daly added: “These are all cases where first and foremost, the people we are representing have not come to us solely for legal advice. Yes, that is what they ultimately need, but they turn to us first of all because they have found very few people willing to listen to them, and even fewer willing to provide the answers to serious questions.
“It is important that children and their families have the very best support and counselling needed to help them live with, and hopefully overcome, the psychological damage they have suffered. That is a key part of our role.
“We will of course do all we can to secure the maximum compensation to compensate them fully for their suffering at Bradbury’s hands.”
Bradbury, 41, was sentenced on seven counts of sexual assault and 12 of engaging in sexual activity with a child.
Gaining the complete trust of families, he would suggest speaking to children alone under the pretence that it could help them to open up and raise any concerns which they may not mention with relatives in the room.
However, he used that time alone to abuse boys, ordering many to arouse themselves in front of him. His victims included children with haemophilia, leukaemia and other serious illnesses, some of whom have since died.