Letter to Chief Constable
Mr Mike Tonge 6 Mole Close
Chief Constable, Gwent Police Bettws Estate
Gwent Police Headquarters Newport
Cwmbrân NP20 7XR
30 July 2006
Dear Chief Constable,
My name is Shaun McGuire and I am a resident on the Bettws Estate in Newport and I am a parent that was involved in the retained organs of children scandal that occurred a few years ago involving the Alder Hey, Bristol children’s and other hospitals in the UK.
In my own case it was the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport that held illegally body parts of my son removed at a hospital post mortem 28 years previously without my consent.
On the 8 December 1999, the South Wales Argus published an article submitted to them by Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust stating that the Trust gave their “Pledge to Parents” that they had never carried out autopsies on children.
Reading that article and knowing that I had been pressurised into signing a post mortem consent form in 1974 and that I had not been informed of the implications of signing that form, I wrote to Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust and asked them for assurances that no body parts had been retained from my son Brendan Sean McGuire in 1974.
My letter went unanswered so I again wrote to the Trust on 11 January 2000 enclosing a copy of my original letter to them and telling them if this letter was ignored then I would take further action.
I was then contacted by the Trust by telephone and told that they had launched an investigation into the content of my letter and that they would contact me again when this was completed.
A couple of weeks later I was again telephoned by the Trust and was told that they were sending their representative a Mr Keith Hamilton to visit me.
Following this call both my wife and myself received a visit from Mr Keith Hamilton and during the meeting with him he stated categorically that Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust had NEVER carried out post mortems on children and therefore the question of organ retention played no part in my queries with them.
Because Mr Hamilton was unable to answer simple questions I put to him, I told Mr Hamilton that he was telling us a pack of lies and this is reflected in a follow up letter I received from Mr Martin Turner, Chief Executive of the Trust.
For the next two years Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust totally denied to me and my family that they had carried out a post mortem or kept body parts of my son until eventually other stories appeared in the South Wales Argus about other families in Gwent who had discovered that body parts had been retained from their children.
I again wrote to them in 2002 and this time after an investigation they came back to me and finally admitted that they had carried out a post mortem in 1974 and were still holding my sons body parts.
On 13 March, 2003 I attended a meeting of the Retained Organs Commission at the Jury’s hotel in Cardiff and during this meeting I had a conversation with Professor Margaret Brazier, Chair of the ROC and Steve Catlin, Chief Executive of the ROC and after hearing about my experiences with Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust they advised me that I should make a complaint against the Trust under the NHS Complaints Procedure via the Gwent Community Health Council.
This I did, firstly by telephoning GCHC who then sent me a complaints package with all the necessary official forms and information leaflets.
I returned the main form with the details of my complaint to GCHC and again heard nothing until I telephoned them some weeks later to find out what was happening about my complaint.
I was told by the lady that answered that they had not received a complaint from me and her search of the computer records also showed no record of my complaint being received and that she would try and locate it if it had been received.
Miraculously either the following day or the day after, I received a reply from Mr Colin Hobbs of GCHC and it was obvious to me that my complaint was not going to acted on in a fair and unbiased way as it should have been and replied to him as such.
I received another reply from Colin Hobbs and from then on heard no more from him.
Following this I now set up a website about my son and put on this the story of my sons birth and death and all the letters and documents concerning my quest for information about my son and also suggested that GCHC and similar councils should be closed because I found that they were completely biased against members of the public making complaints against the NHS.
I then sent the link to my website www.brendan-sean-mcguire.freeservers.com to all the parties concerned, newspapers and all the AM’s at the Welsh Assembly.
Following my emails, Jocelyn Davies AM then found out the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust were holding many body parts of her child who was still born some 16 years previously and most of all Gwent Community Health Council now found out about my complaint, a complaint that they were completely unaware about!
GCHC now took up my complaint for a second time and after a full and thorough investigation were and are unable to find any documentation relating to my original complaint which also included documentation sent to them by the Trust.
The destruction of this documentation delayed my complaint to the Wales Ombudsman by at least 18 months.
Now following a decision by the Ombudsman, I have been informed that letters and documentation concerning my original query to Gwent Healthcare NHS in December 1999 are also missing/destroyed and the Trust have laid the blame for the missing documentation at the door of their now retired employee Mr Keith Hamilton, the gentleman that Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust appointed to investigate my query and who they considered to be fully competent and experienced to carry out such a task at that time.
Now I consider that the destruction of official and archived documents of the National Health Service to be a criminal offence and I am asking the Gwent Police to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of these missing documents.
I accuse former employee of Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, Mr Keith Hamilton of the deliberate and wilful destruction of all documentation relating to my original request for information about my son Brendan Sean McGuire in December 1999 which form part of the National Health Service archive records and I also accuse former employee of Gwent Community Health Council, Mr Colin Hobbs of deliberate and wilful destruction of all documentation relating to my original complaint against Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust via Gwent Community Health Council made under Her Majesty’s Government, National Health Service Complaints Procedure.
I would like Gwent Police to fully investigate the disappearance of these official NHS documents and my accusations against Mr Keith Hamilton and Mr Colin Hobbs and if cases of criminality are found, I then expect prosecutions to follow.