(2) what discussions her Department has had with the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on the employment of Dr. David Southall.
Ministers are not in a position to intervene in the employment of individual clinicians. Decisions on employment are a matter between the employing trust and the clinician.
It is for the General Medical Council to determine whether a particular doctor is fit to practise.
The Government commissioned a full review of the research arrangements at North Staffordshire hospital in 1999, in response to concerns about how research had been conducted there by Dr. David Southall, among others. The review, chaired by Professor Rod Griffiths, reported in May 2000 and the Government accepted all the recommendations of the “Report of a review of the research framework in North Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust”, The Griffiths Report. The report recommended a substantial audit of the use of continuous negative extrathoracic pressure, a research intervention, to see if claims of significant benefit or damage could be substantiated. The findings were published in The Lancet on 1 April 2006 as “Outcome after neonatal continuous negative-pressure ventilation: follow-up assessment” by Katherine Telford et al.
In its capacity as employing organisation of researchers, North Staffordshire Hospital National Health Service Trust made its own internal inquiries in order to inform its employment procedures. The reports of these internal inquiries were not placed in the public domain by the trust.