We will never recover
Relatives of Yusuf Mahmud Nazir say they will be instructing their solicitor to instigate another probe into the young boy's death.
They were sent a 49-page report from NHS England and Niche Health and Social Care Consulting – 13 pages longer than the one published this week – and claim the abridged version is missing crucial information.
Yusuf’s uncle Zaheer Ahmed said he had “begged” Rotherham Hospital to treat his nephew’s severe throat infection in November last year.
But the family, from Masbrough, were told the hospital had “not got the doctors and not got the beds,” he said.
Two days later, Yusuf was unable to speak, eat or drink and was taken by ambulance to Sheffield Children’s Hospital — at the family’s insistence — where he seemed to improve.
The Thornhill Primary School pupil’s condition later deteriorated and he tragically died on November 23 last year.
The family brought in a legal team in December and the national independent investigation began in January this year into the tragic circumstances.
The report published on Thursday (October 5) makes a number of recommendations which, “while they would not have changed the course of events for Yusuf, should be implemented to ensure there is learning from this case.”
Recommendations include commissioning national research into why and when parents raise concerns about their children’s acute presentation to health services and assessment at Rotherham Hospital of “medical and nursing staffing levels in the paediatric UECC overnight to ensure capacity meets demand.”
But Mr Ahmed called the investigation “a big battle” for the family who “disagree and absolutely dispute” the report’s findings that Yusuf’s death could not have been avoided.
“It is a clear-cut, big cover-up,” he said. “There’s no question about it. There was crucial information about Yusuf’s treatment and his condition in there.
“Niche told us they were removing one line from the first report. Then they have removed 13 pages. Why?”
Mr Ahmed said: “From the start, the family have been saying the investigators are siding with the NHS. They’re not listening to us.”
The family also claim that their key witness – a woman in A&E at Rotherham Hospital who raised concerns about Yusuf's waiting time and deteriorating condition – was not interviewed by investigators, while doctors and nurses who had been were able to say they “couldn't remember” certain information and this was accepted.
The health authorities said the report was abridged to “protect third party and personal confidential information”.
Dr Jo Beahan, medical director at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All of us at the trust were incredibly saddened by Yusuf’s tragic death and our thoughts remain with his family at this difficult time.
“We note that sadly, despite the efforts of all the teams involved, the report concluded that Yusuf’s death couldn’t be avoided and that his initial medical care in A&E was appropriate for his condition at the time.
"We listened to the family’s concerns raised at the time and made some immediate changes following Yusuf’s death.
"We accept and are implementing the recommendations made in the report.”
Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire: “While the report concludes that they would not have changed the course of events for Yusuf, it is important that our health services focus on actions to further improve patient care.
"Significant steps have been and will continue to be taken to learn from this case.”