THE chairman of a board representing senior doctors at Alder Hey hospital has claimed they have been 'demonised' in the wake of the organ retention scandal.
Dr David Hughes said consultants at the Liverpool children's hospital were made the scapegoats for a nationwide campaign.
He also criticised the Government's chief medical officer Liam Donaldson for singling out senior doctors after the publication of the damning Redfearn inquiry's report.
He said the hospital's medical board an independent body which represents senior consultants had broken its silence to defend the hospital's reputation.
The 45-year-old consultant paediatrician said: 'We found ourselves at the eye of the storm. To find then that there was indiscriminate referral to the General Medical Council of colleagues that are highly respected, who we know have delivered high quality care to children, and to find out they have been picked out for individual blame was devastating.
'Because they were committed to providing care during that difficult time, they grew in our respect.
'We have apologised to the parents involved and we have taken this opportunity to repeat this apology. We aren't trying to shy away from the difficult issues that the inquiry has raised.
'But there are 2,000 people working here who are determined to provide the highest quality medical care for the children of Merseyside and beyond.
'If Alder Hey becomes a byword for scandal, that has a really damaging effect on the morale of people there trying to help children.
'We want to build bridges and reconciliation to take this hospital forward for all our sakes.'
The board decided to speak out after the General Medical Council decided to take no further action against nine of 11 doctors named in the report.
Dr Hughes also accused Prof Donaldson of 'poor judgement' and political expediency' in referring a raft of doctors for investigation by the GMC.
He said: 'This action demonstrated a need to seek individuals to blame rather than acknowledge the culture that created the circumstances that were manifestly widespread and had been an accepted part of the system.'
NHS spokesman Hugh Lamont replied: 'When issues of public concern are raised as they were in the Redfearn report, Liam Donaldson and chief medical officer has to investigate.
'He took the action he thought necessary in asking the GMC to look into what happened.'