Report criticises authorities following death of toddler Tayler Mason

The Oxford Times: . .

SOCIAL workers, police and doctors missed a chance to potentially save the life of toddler Tayler Mason, who died from head injuries in 2010, a report has revealed.

Tayler died in Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital in November 2010 aged 22 months after he was admitted with head injuries and abdominal bruising. His father Craig Mason, then 33, of High Street, Middleton Cheney, was jailed for 15 months in May for neglect.

His barrister Lucy Tapper said this was reduced on appeal to 10 months.

Now a serious case review has identified points in the run-up to his death when concerns were raised, but there was no intervention.

The report, published by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, highlights poor information sharing between police, doctors and social workers and said incidents in Tayler’s mother’s past – such as self-harm and abuse from a former partner – were not fully considered.

Now the agencies mentioned in the report have accepted recommendations in the review, including that they should consider the wellbeing of children when dealing with adults with mental health issues and have a monitoring framework in place.

Oxfordshire County Council’s children’s services director Jim Leivers said: “It was a case which went wrong for a number of agencies and what we failed to do was to follow up an anonymous telephone call. That was something we should have done and we didn’t act on it properly.

“We have done a lot since then and I think we have now got a much safer referral system than we had before.”

The report reveals that concerns were raised about the child’s wellbeing five months before his death, in an anonymous referral about delays in his development and possible bruising from falling over.

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Other failings highlighted include the lack of a review strategy meeting, which would have allowed the facts to be shared between agencies, and the fact a report by a paediatrician who examined the child after bruising was discovered in September 2009 was delayed by two months.

Oxford University Hospitals Trust medical director Professor Edward Baker said: “We are very sorry about the tragic outcome of this case. Staff from our hospitals contributed fully to the serious case review.

“As part of that process, the trust reviewed its policies and practice relating to safeguarding children across the trust as a whole. The recommendations from the serious case review relating to the trust are about ensuring consistency of practice.

“Independently of this, the paediatrician concerned was given intensive support and careful scrutiny of all relevant clinical practice.”

Police spokesman Rhianne Pope said: “Thames Valley Police were fully engaged with the review of this case.

“As part of our role we carried out our internal review, as a result of which we ensured we took steps to remind staff about existing procedures – these actions ensured we completed the recommendations made by this review.”

Miss Tapper has disputed some of the elements of the report.

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