BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 05/98: The Bristol heart babies  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
The Bristol heart babies Monday, 15 March, 1999, 23:28 GMT
Dramatising the Bristol heart scandal
Bristol protest
Parents said the GMC Bristol babies inquiry did not tell the full story
TV producers are planning to make a drama documentary of Britain's biggest medical scandal in recent years - the Bristol baby heart deaths.

The Bristol Heart Babies
United Productions, part of Bristol-based HTV, is in discussions with Channel 4 about proposals for a major dramatisation of the scandal whose shock waves are still being felt in the medical profession.

In June, three doctors were found guilty of serious professional misconduct by doctors' regulatory body, the General Medical Council, for failing to stop heart operations on babies at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) - despite the fact that their death rate was much higher than the national average.

Twenty-nine babies died following heart operations at the hospital, but campaigners say the GMC failed to look at the number of children left brain-damaged after surgery and the number of deaths among adults.

'The whole story'

United Productions says its drama will tell "the whole story", including the extent of brain damaged babies and adult deaths.

The idea for the film came from the investigative team responsible for the original Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the scandal.

United claims the programme led directly to the GMC hearing, which was the longest in its history.

The team, which has been working on the case for three years, will have a big input into the content of the film.

Tom Archer, exectuive producer of the original Dispatches programmel, says drama is the best way of "conveying the scale and significance of the tragedy".

Hillsborough

A spokesman for HTV added: "It will have more impact, like the Hillsborough drama documentary. This is quite a strong way of portraying what has gone on in situations like this."

Jessica Gibbons
Jessica Gibbons: one of the children who died after a heart operation at BRI
He said the company was working with the families of the babies affected by the scandal and that they were fully informed of what was happening.

No scriptwriter or producer has yet been appointed, but a wish list of top drama-documentary makers has been drawn up.

When a script has been written, United will present it to Channel 4 commissioners and will proceed from there. Filming could begin next year.

Public inquiry

The Bristol babies heart scandal prompted the government to announce that hospitals would have to publish details of their clinical performance.

The British Medical Association has produced suggestions of how doctors can monitor each other's performance and the president of the GMC is expected to suggest that top surgeons should have a five yearly MOT.

A public inquiry into the affair is due to begin next year.

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes