Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Baby P doctor 'deeply affected'

Baby P
Baby P was examined by Dr Al-Zayyat two days before his death

A doctor accused of failing to spot Baby P's injuries two days before the 17-month-old died in 2007 says she has been "deeply affected" by his case.

Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, who is banned from working unsupervised and faces an investigation, spoke of the "shocking and tragic circumstances of his death".

Baby P, who was examined at St Ann's Hospital, London, died in Haringey.

Tests later revealed injuries including a broken back and ribs believed to have pre-dated his medical examination.

Three people have been convicted of causing Baby P's death, despite repeated visits to the boy's home by the authorities.

His mother and her boyfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and their lodger, Jason Owen, will be sentenced next month.

Baby P was examined by Dr Al-Zayyat at a child development clinic at St Ann's Hospital shortly before his death.

The doctor, who qualified in Pakistan and worked in Saudi Arabia before coming to Britain in 2004, spotted bruises to his body but decided not to carry out a full systemic examination because the boy was "miserable and cranky".

Like everyone involved in this case, I have been deeply affected by the shocking and tragic circumstances of this young child's death
Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat

A post-mortem examination later revealed a broken back and ribs, among a number of other injuries, that are believed to have pre-dated his medical examination.

Dr Al-Zayyat's contract with Great Ormond Street Hospital, responsible for child services in Haringey, has now been terminated and she has also been banned from working unsupervised until an inquiry has been completed.

She issued a statement through the Medical Protection Society, which gives professional indemnity to healthcare professionals.

She said: "Like everyone involved in this case, I have been deeply affected by the shocking and tragic circumstances of this young child's death.

"My professional career has been devoted to the care of children. I will co-operate with any investigation to identify whether lessons can be learnt from this case - but I feel it would be inappropriate to provide any further comment to the press at this time."

Council apology

Gordon Brown is promising that anyone found guilty of failings in the Baby P case will be "held accountable", and the government has already announced an independent review.

Meanwhile, the leader of Haringey Council has offered his "heartfelt and unreserved" apology for the death of Baby P.

Councillor George Meehan said there had been failure "by all the agencies involved" in the case.

The death of the baby boy in the north London borough has sparked public outrage over the child protection system in England.

The council has come under intense pressure to review its social service procedures in light of the case.

The apology comes as children's minister Ed Balls refused to rule out a public inquiry into the death of Baby P.

He has sent inspectors to Haringey Council and they are due to report back to the Department for Children, Schools and Families in two weeks.

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