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Baby death claims 'exaggerated'
roylance
Dr John Roylance denies knowing of problems
Claims that babies' death rates at the Bristol Royal Infirmary were among the highest in the country were "exaggerated", the hospital's disgraced former manager told a public inquiry.

Dr John Roylance - former chief executive of United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, who was struck off by the General Medical Council for his part in the scandal over heart surgery - dismissed the warning as an "exaggerated statement".

He admitted at the inquiry on Monday that he had received a letter from anaesthetist Stephen Bolsin in 1990, in which he detailed what he claimed were unusually high death rates at the hospital.

But Dr Roylance said he thought the letter had been sent to gain extra funding for the centre and added: "I was accustomed to this sort of exaggerated statement to support the improvements that individuals wanted.

"The difficulty I had was finding a way of putting into priority the requests that were made. Issues were put to management in emotive terms."


I was accustomed to this sort of exaggerated statement

Dr John Roylance
The multi-million pound inquiry is investigating operations on hundreds of babies and toddlers carried out at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 12 years to 1995.

It started in March following a GMC hearing in 1998 which struck off Dr Roylance and Mr Wisheart and barred Mr Dhasmana from operating on children for three years.

The GMC decided that Dr Roylance should have acted to stop Mr Dhasmana and Mr Wisheart carrying out operations on babies when it became apparent that death rates at Bristol were too high.

Under questioning, he repeatedly denied on Monday that he knew anything about the problems until January 1995.

Asked by inquiry counsel Brian Langstaff QC if he would have acted to resolve the situation had he known he replied: "Absolutely. I would have activated the proper professional pathways to deal with the situation.

"I wish now I'd known because I might have taken the opportunity to ask pertinent questions."

The inquiry continues.

See also:

02 Dec 99 | Health
22 Nov 99 | Health
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