A senior Welsh Office official was this week accused of overlooking concerns about paediatric cardiac surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 1980s.

Peter Gregory, now director of the NHS in Wales and formerly head of health services planning for NHS Wales, gave evidence to the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry this week.

Inquiry chair Professor Ian Kennedy put accusations to him that Professor Andrew Henderson of the University of Wales had warned that it was 'no secret' that Bristol's surgical service was regarded as 'being at the bottom of the UK league for quality'.

He also put claims to Mr Gregory that doctors who resisted pressure to refer children with cardiac problems to the infirmary in the late 1980s were accused of 'still being sore' about a Welsh Office decision not to create a specialist centre in Cardiff.

Mr Gregory responded that 'what we are talking about here are generalised concerns of an unspecific nature'. He said there was 'an absence of evidential support' for the allegations.