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Seven more families had "harrowing experiences of children's healthcare"

Seven more families had

Friday 16 December 2022

Seven more families had "harrowing experiences of children's healthcare"

Friday 16 December 2022

More families are coming forward to report distressing experiences with children's health services and safeguarding.

The traumatic accounts of four families were first brought to public attention in a States' meeting earlier this year.

Express has learned that at least seven other families have since reported significant and similar concerns about how they were treated while obtaining medical support or care for their sick or vulnerable children.

The additional families came forward after Deputy Gavin St. Pier made a speech in the States in April in which he briefly outlined the experiences of his family and three other families.

Deputy St. Pier faces a string of complaints that he broke the deputies' code of conduct during his speech, in which he controversially named a local doctor using parliamentary privilege, which provides States' members with immunity from legal proceedings against anything they say in the Assembly.

At this week's States' meeting, the Committee for Health & Social Care rejected Deputy St. Pier's latest request to publish an independent report and recommendations about protecting vulnerable children and their families. The Committee received them in September 2021 and November 2021 respectively. It said it would be "pleased to review" its position in 2023. 


Pictured: Deputy Gavin St. Pier is aware of at least 11 families who have reported significant and similar concerns about children's health services and safeguarding.

The first group of four families recently met members of the Committee, including its President, Deputy Al Brouard, and the Head of the Public Service, Mark de Garis, to discuss their experiences and concerns and the States' response to them. 

Deputy St. Pier said the Committee was told at that meeting that seven other families had come forward to him with related complaints. He also said the Committee was advised that it needed to find a way for those families to feel safe to make their complaints without fearing that such complaints might have an impact on the ongoing care requirements of their children.

"My speech triggered another seven families to come forward with details of their own harrowing experiences of children's healthcare on island," said Deputy St. Pier, in response to questions submitted to him by Express about the ongoing code of conduct cases against him.

"With that in mind, the priority for the Head of the Public Service, the leadership of the Committee for Health & Social Care and healthcare providers must now be to implement the recommendations from the learning report delivered in September 2021.

"The clue is in the name of that report. Lessons need to be learned in order to improve safeguarding for the benefit of the whole community."


Pictured: Deputy Gavin St. Pier said that an independent report commissioned last year uncovered "systemic failings in our safeguarding processes".

Express reported in July that code of conduct complaints had been lodged against Deputy St. Pier. He said they were submitted by the doctor he named in the States in April, the Medical Specialist Group and the Guernsey and Alderney branch of the British Medical Association.

Deputy St. Pier said yesterday that he had no regrets about the speech he made in April and remained confident of defeating the code of conduct complaints against him.

"I'm afraid that, given the terms of the code of conduct, I am prohibited from saying too much about the complaints that have been lodged against me. It is already a matter of public record that they all derive from a speech that I made in the States of Deliberation in April," he said.

"Although over six months have elapsed since the complaints were lodged, there are still a number of preliminary matters that are being dealt with.  

"I take the complaints very seriously and will robustly defend myself.  

"I am confident that all four will, in due course, be dismissed. Any objective review of the evidence against the claims could not conclude otherwise."


Pictured: The Committee for Health & Social Care has declined repeated requests to publish an independent report and recommendations which it commissioned following complaints from numerous families. It has not ruled out publishing them next year.

In his speech in April, Deputy St. Pier told the States that his own family's complaint had "triggered a bizarre and Kafkaesque safeguarding investigation, which our GP described at the time as the weaponisation of the safeguarding system against us". He said that his family had later received an "unequivocal apology" from the Medical Specialist Group, the healthcare provider concerned.

Deputy St. Pier said those experiences had led to him working with three families "who have profoundly sick children with complex conditions and needs, who had either sought second opinions or complained about local clinical care, and had found themselves in exactly the same Kafkaesque nightmare of having to deal with safeguarding enquiries while also caring for their sick children".

The concerns raised by the families led to an investigation into the practices and behaviour of a doctor working in the Bailiwick. Following the investigation, Dr Peter Rabey, who has a statutory role in such matters, decided that no substantive concern was upheld against the doctor.

Deputy St. Pier also told the States at that time that the investigator found "that there was potential bias towards families whose children had complex conditions and parents who were inclined to seek second opinions".


HSC repeats refusal to publish report

HSC under pressure to publish safeguarding report

Three code of conduct complaints lodged against Deputy St. Pier

States throw out Deputy's request to debate annual report on doctors 

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