Ashya King’s grandmother says authorities’ actions could have caused Southsea boy’s death

Ashya King
Ashya King

MP looks at A&E and out-of-hours care

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THE grandmother of Ashya King has attacked a report praising authorities for their handling of the boy’s ordeal.

A report has been produced on behalf of Portsmouth Safeguarding Children’s Board into the way agencies responded after Ashya was taken abroad by his parents for alternative treatment to recover from a brain tumour.

The authorities did everything they could to not help the family. Because of them, Ashya could have died.

Patricia King

Ashya’s parents Brett and Naghmeh King sparked an international police hunt after they removed him from Southampton General Hospital last August without permission.

An executive summary of the report says medical professionals worked hard to ensure ‘the best outcomes’ for Ashya and his family.

And it says hospital staff worked hard to have a partnership with the parents, but ‘there is clear evidence that this relationship deteriorated over time.’

Speaking out against the findings, Ashya’s grandmother Patricia King, of Southsea, said: ‘The agencies did everything they could to not help the family. Because of them, Ashya could have died.

‘I don’t get what they think – they have all been disgraceful.’

The dossier says the decision by Ashya’s parents to take him abroad ‘put him at risk’ – but that the hospital should have acted sooner to get a second opinion about different treatment plans for the five-year-old. It suggested a formal meeting could have been held to discuss directly the worries that health professionals had about their willingness to accept guidance.

The report described the ‘limited options’ available to agencies after the family fled the UK as ‘partly a result of the parents concealing the actions they had taken to ensure his safety and were compounded by them failing to respond to attempts to contact them’.

It highlighted how legal options available to agencies were ‘draconian’ and did not allow for ‘any flexibility’.

And a better media strategy should have been put in place to manage the ‘negative feedback’ to Ashya’s plight.

Hospital staff are also said to be still receiving ‘psychological support’ in the wake of what happened. Recommendations include the government reviewing legislative powers for professionals concerned for the safety of children taken abroad.