Swansea Bay: Welsh Government want external review into birth of disabled boy after 'cover up' claim
The Welsh Government has met with Swansea Bay University Health Board demanding a new external review be carried out into the birth of a disabled boy.
It comes after the family of 4-year-old Gethin Channon from Swansea claimed a previous external review, carried out by one of the UK’s top maternity experts, was “covered up” by the health board.
Dr Bill Kirkup produced his findings to the Channon family and health board in March this year.
Dr Kirkup’s review identified several care failings during Gethin’s labour as well as suggestions medical notes had been altered.
Gethin Channon was born with significant brain damage after complications during his birth at Singleton Hospital in 2019.
Swansea Bay University Health Board deny they covered up the report and says they have worked extensively to meet the concerns of the Channon family.
Emails seen by ITV Wales revealed the Welsh Government has told the health board they will identify a person to conduct a new external review.
The emails also show a further meeting has been arranged to explore and seek assurance on wider performance issues in relation to maternity and neonatal services at Swansea Bay University Health Board.
Gethin’s father, Robert Channon, says he welcomes the involvement of the Welsh Government.
“It’s positive news.” he told ITV Wales
"It shows the Welsh Government are taking the issues seriously. When we met with them (Welsh Government) we got the feeling they were concerned about what had happened in Gethin’s case.
“It’s been a long time coming. The original Kirkup review was in march this year so it’s been a long nine months for us.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said “The Chief Nursing Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Wales met the Channon family to listen to the issues the family has raised. We are discussing the next steps with the health board.”
ITV Wales understands the Welsh Government are now waiting for the health board to consider their request for a new external review.
“The choice of person to carry out the external review has to be a joint choice.” Robert told ITV Wales.
“We can’t have the health board turning around and disagreeing with experts. This has to be a Welsh Government led process, the health board can not be in charge of this review. They have proven time and again not to be able to deliver, so this has to be a Welsh Government led process.”
In a statement, Swansea Bay University Health Board said “The Health Board has worked extensively to meet the concerns of the family and has previously offered an external review in addition to the two internal reviews already completed.
“The Health Board is currently liaising with the Welsh Government concerning any further investigations to resolve these issues.
“This is an exceptionally sad situation, and we truly and sincerely hope this process will assist the family, whom we have sought to support and work in partnership with to find a resolution to their concerns over a number of years.”