Page last updated at 21:30 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

'Cover-up' NHS boss is suspended

John Moore-Robinson
John Moore-Robinson died hours after being discharged from hospital

A senior NHS member of staff believed to have ordered a rewrite of a damning report because she did not want "adverse publicity" has been suspended.

John Moore-Robinson, 20, died after he was discharged from Stafford Hospital with an undiagnosed ruptured spleen.

In a report, senior consultant Ivan Phair said Mr Moore-Robinson's treatment could be called "negligent".

But trust secretary Kate Levy said she did not want the comments "quoted in the press", and demanded their removal.

The memo emerged during an independent inquiry being held into the failures at Stafford Hospital.

Telecommunications worker Mr Moore-Robinson, from Coalville, Leicestershire, was taken to Stafford Hospital's accident and emergency in April 2006 after a mountain biking accident in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

'Avoidable situation'

An X-ray revealed broken ribs, but no scan was done to check his spleen and he was prescribed painkillers and discharged. He died hours later.

Mr Phair's report, written weeks later, concluded: "The premature death of Mr Moore-Robinson in my opinion was an avoidable situation.

"I feel that an independent expert would criticise the management afforded to him by the staff.

"There is a high probability that the level of care delivered to Mr Moore-Robinson was negligent."

But Ms Levy, who worked as Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust secretary and head of legal services there, did not wish the comments to be reported in open court to a coroner.

She wrote two memos to Mr Phair asking him to delete criticism.

Frank Robinson
Mr Moore-Robinson's father is now calling for an inquest

She wrote: "With a view to avoiding further distress to the family and adverse publicity I wish to avoid stressing possible failures on the part of the trust."

In another memo she wrote: "I feel such a concluding statement may add to the family's distress and is not one I wish to see quoted in the press."

In a statement, the hospital's new management said it was "appalled" that anyone would want to hide information to protect the reputation of the organisation.

Antony Sumara, chief executive of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, said they were in the process of formally suspending Ms Levy, "pending a full investigation into the allegations raised".

Mr Moore-Robinson's father Frank Robinson is now calling for an inquest into his son's death.

He said: "It's left me speechless.

"Up until the inquiry we really had no idea."

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