Ashya King ‘put at risk’ by parents’ decision to take him abroad says Portsmouth report

Ashya King and his mother Naghmeh
Ashya King and his mother Naghmeh
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ASHYA King’s parents ‘put him at risk’ by removing him from hospital without consent and taking him abroad for treatment, a report has found.

Brett and Naghmeh King sparked an international police hunt when they removed their son from Southampton General Hospital in August last year to take him to Prague for proton beam therapy after he had had a brain tumour removed.

A report by Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Board, into how agencies dealt with the case, said analysis of records by hospital staff showed they had worked hard to achieve a partnership with the parents, but ‘nevertheless there is clear evidence that this relationship deteriorated over time.’

It added: ‘This resulted in the parents removing their child from hospital, without discussion with medical staff, in order to take him abroad where they thought they would be able to access the services that they considered best met his needs. This action put him at risk.’

The report said the question must be asked about whether there was any way in which the breakdown in trust could have been avoided.

One factor that is relevant was a delay in obtaining a second opinion for the parents, it said.

It goes on: ‘Whilst the doctors’ view that this was not needed immediately was accurate in terms of the child’s clinical needs; this failed to take account of the indirect message that was given to the parents, which was that their wishes and rights were overruled by the professionals.

There were also some concerns about the parents’ actions in criticising and disregarding nursing advice which needed to be addressed more directly.’

It suggested a formal meeting could have been held to discuss directly the worries that health professionals had about their willingness to accept guidance.