“We fully understand that there is intense public interest, and that emotions run high,” said Mary MacLeod, the chairman of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“However, in recent weeks the GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance. Staff have received abuse both in the street and online. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children,” she said in a statement. “Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.”