Back

Governance arrangements – Cambridge University Hospitals

Senior consultant

Charlie de Montfort

Published 22 October 2015 More about Charlie

Verita conducted an independent investigation into governance arrangements in the paediatric haematology and oncology service at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, following the Myles Bradbury case.

We were asked to consider whether the trust should have prevented or identified earlier Myles Bradbury’s criminal behaviour; whether policies and processes intended to protect patients were robust, understood and followed, and whether there are any ways in which the trust could and should improve safeguarding in future. We did not investigate and do not talk in detail in our report about the crimes themselves – that was, of course, a matter for the police.

We interviewed 48 people, including trust staff at all levels, families of patients of the paediatric and oncology service, outside professionals and Myles Bradbury. We spoke to healthcare regulators and professional bodies about appropriate standards and looked at the independent reports and recommendations arising from a number of high profile cases of the sexual abuse of patients by doctors and other health care staff to see what they could add to the review.

We found that no member of staff had suspected Myles Bradbury of unprofessional, let alone criminal behaviour. We spoke to one parent of a patient who had felt uneasy about Myles Bradbury’s behaviour on one occasion, but who had not raised the matter as it could have had an innocent explanation.

We found that the trust responded promptly, effectively and in accordance with its own safeguarding policy and national guidelines as soon as a concern was raised. Although we found no individual failings, the one policy that was clearly inadequate was the chaperone policy. We found that Myles Bradbury had been able to use the inadequacy of this policy, and the flexibility of the appointments arrangements, to commit and conceal his offences. Both policies have already been tightened up, and we have suggested further improvements that we urge the trust to act on. But we accept that it is very much in the interests of patients and their families to have some flexibility in these matters. Rigid policies, although they might help eliminate the risk of abuse, would be impracticable and result in other aspects of care and treatment suffering.

To view our recommendations please read the report here.