A trust chief executive has paid tribute to her “brilliant” staff after they found themselves at the centre of “an international media storm” over the case of child cancer patient Ashya King.
Five-year-old Ashya, who has a brain tumour, hit the headlines when he was reported missing when his parents removed him from the care of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to seek treatment abroad.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who kept on doing their job”
The trust faced criticism over its handling of the case, which saw Ashya’s parents arrested before being re-united with their son.
In her regular blog, chief executive Fiona Dalton praised the way staff coped with being under the media spotlight and said she was “humbled” by the “compassion, fortitude and forensic attention to detail under pressure” displayed by nurses and doctors from the hospital’s paediatric oncology team.
“When their email boxes were full of personal abuse from strangers and there were journalists camped on their front door, they were still worrying about how we could do the best thing for a small boy in Spain,” she wrote.
She described how the furore surrounding the case had affected everyone who worked at the hospital trust with staff being questioned by public and patients, “sometimes in a very aggressive way”.
But she said she was “proud” of the way colleagues had responded, including taking on extra work.
“Through all of this we still had thousands of patients who needed care and treatment and I’m so grateful to everyone who kept on doing their job,” she wrote.
Ms Dalton said the trust was relieved Ashya was currently receiving “the treatment that he needs” at a hospital in Prague.