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Tot death hospital shake up

PUBLISHED: 11:55 20 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 August 2010

HORRIFIC INJURIES: Baby Bobby five months before his death.

HORRIFIC INJURIES: Baby Bobby five months before his death.

HOSPITAL bosses have changed the way they deal with children admitted with suspicious injuries after a mother murdered her tot. Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust implemented the raft of measures following the murder of 21-month-old Bobby Louch. Collette

HOSPITAL bosses have changed the way they deal with children admitted with suspicious injuries after a mother murdered her tot.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust implemented the raft of measures following the murder of 21-month-old Bobby Louch.

Collette Harris, 30, of Chapel Close, Dartford, was found guilty of murdering, her child, whom she inflected with 40 injuries at their former home in Halcot Avenue, in Bexleyheath. She was jailed at the Old Bailey on Friday for a minimum of 16 years.

A Serious Case Review published on Tuesday morning found staff should have referred the toddler to Social Services, when he went to hospital with a broken leg, three weeks before his death.

The key change means anyone who attends A&E with an unexplained injury of a child will be routinely referred to Children's Social Care. A consultant paediatrician will also review the documentation of all children when there are safeguarding concerns prior to discharge.

This week newly elected Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said he would meet with trust bosses.

He said: "It is difficult for the hospital to predict what could have happened but there are still lessons to be learned. It is going to be difficult for the hospital to protect vulnerable children without demonising every parent who attends hospital with an injured child."

Staff had concerns about whether Bobby's leg injury was accidental, so he was kept in overnight to complete further tests but was discharged the next day.

He was still wearing the plaster cast when his lifeless body was found in his cot by his mother on December 29, 2008, as the country was left devastated by the Baby Peter case.

The abuse, at the height of the Baby Peter scandal, left defenceless Bobby with severe brain damage, ruptured internal organs and two fractured ribs.

Despite the review Jenny Kay, Director of Nursing Jenny Kay, claims a referral to Social Services would not have prevented the murder.

She said: "We are sorry that a referral to Children's Services was not made. Medical staff had met the mother on a number of occasions before. She had always appeared caring and concerned for her children.

"There weren't many flags of concern by other agencies - neighbours, friends, health visitors - these were all reassuring. The only opportunity was the one attendance to DVH. The only thing staff didn't do was refer that child to Social Services. It terms of it being unpredictable there weren't lots of flags coming up.

"This was a ferocious attack on the child that was not predictable. The referral would not have made a difference to the outcome. There would not have been lots of raised concerns from the referral.

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