CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

MP Keir Starmer calls for end to abuse of Great Ormond Street staff over Charlie Gard case

Multiple death threats have been received by people working at hospital in Holborn

22 July, 2017 — By Richard Osley

Charlie Gard with parents Connie and Chris

KEIR Starmer today (Saturday) said he was working with the chairwoman of Great Ormond Street Hospital to end the abuse of medical staff – which has included multiple death threats – by protesters angry over the Charlie Gard legal case.

The hospital is fighting wants to remove the life-support from 11-month-old Charlie, who has a condition causing muscle weakness and brain damage. But his parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard are fighting this course of action in the High Court, as they want to take him from the hospital in Holborn for treatment in the United States.

The couple said they in no way condoned the abuse of hospital staff and have received abusive messages themselves.

Mr Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions now the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said: “Charlie Gard’s case is truly tragic and the whole nation sympathises with his parents. It is understandable that people feel very strongly about the case. But the abuse of staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital outside the hospital and on line is totally unacceptable. There is no place for this abuse and it has to stop.”

He added: “Mary MacLeod, the Chair of the Hospital, is right to label the abuse, some of which includes death threats, as sickening. I am working with her and the Hospital to support the staff and to ensure that those responsible are held to account.”

Ms MacLeod said today: “Staff have received abuse both in the street and online. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.”

She added: “Families have been harassed and discomforted while visiting their children, and we have received complaints of unacceptable behaviour even within the hospital itself.”

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