Police ignored evidence of doctor who treated Hillsborough victims

The following is a letter sent by Dr Ed Walker, to The Independent newspaper in December 1996, shortly after Jimmy McGovern’s dramatisation was shown on ITV.

“I was one of the first doctors in attendance at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield that afternoon. As a consequence of the recent TV drama, I was put in touch with the Hillsborough Families Support Group. Again as a consequence of this, I learnt that I had been described as an “unidentified doctor” at the inquest. This is the first time I knew I had been referred to. While I was indeed there in a voluntary capacity, I was well known at the hospital, and was invited back on the day the Prince and Princess of Wales visited. It would hardly have been beyond anyone with an ounce of sense, or half an ounce of integrity, to track me down. I was also attempting to resuscitate victims after 4pm, and one boy who did survive, despite requiring short-term ventilation on a “life- support machine” was treated by me well after 3.15pm.”

“I have always thought that the puzzling decision not to hear evidence of anything that happened after 3.15pm was made with the intention of protecting people like me, who were doing all they could in overwhelming, impossible circumstances. It now seems that there may be a rather less altruistic reason, involving errors of judgement at the ground.”

“Unfortunately, nearly eight years on, it is unlikely that I would be able to offer anything useful to a new inquest or inquiry, particularly as I never made any contemporaneous notes, something I regret and something I should have been encouraged to do. But even if a new inquest is not a practical option, I feel that the conclusions of the original inquest have been effectively discredited.”

Dr Ed Walker