Archie Battersbee’s mother seeks meeting with Health Secretary Steve Barclay to discuss legal system

Hollie Dance, mother of Archie Battersbee Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The mother of Archie Battersbee has written to the health secretary to request a meeting to discuss her son's case, following his death earlier this month.

Archie died on 6 August after a lengthy legal battle over his life support treatment, having spent four months in a coma after being found unconscious at home.

His mother Hollie Dance has now written to Steve Barclay to call for a “public inquiry” into the “operation of this system” and a “change of the law”.

Ms Dance says in her letter that “similar cases” are subject to “severe reporting restrictions” and “therefore away from public scrutiny”.

A judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London ruled in July that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment for Archie, who suffered brain damage in an incident at home in Southend, Essex, in April.

Archie died on 6 August after a long legal battle Credit: Family photo

His mother, and father Paul Battersbee, failed in several legal bids to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s ruling.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are separated, are being supported by a campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre.

Centre officials released Ms Dance’s letter to Mr Barclay on Friday.

“I would like to meet with you … to discuss how we can work together to ensure that no other family has to go through this,” says Ms Dance in the letter.

“Archie’s case has had a lot of publicity, but I know that many similar cases are heard in the Family Division subject to severe reporting restrictions, and therefore away from public scrutiny.

“There should be a comprehensive public inquiry into the operation of this system; and then a change of the law to protect the grieving families from cruelty.”

Ms Dance had earlier said she felt “backed into a corner” by the legal system and said her family felt “stripped” of rights.

Judges heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April.

Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

She thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge. The youngster did not regain consciousness.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought that he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions on what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.

A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Hayden.

He ruled that ending treatment would be in Archie’s best interests after a further hearing.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know