News Update


Lucy Letby: Concerns that the inquiry will not have sufficient authority

There are fears that the investigation into Lucy Letby’s baby killings and attempted murders will not go far enough.

Following the nurse’s conviction for the crimes committed at a hospital in Chester, an independent investigation has been launched.

However, MP Samantha Dixon believes a judge should be in charge, while MP Dr Caroline Johnson believes the proper approach is being adopted.

The government stated that the investigation would seek to provide answers to the families.

Following a 10-month trial, Letby was found guilty on Friday of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six more at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

She was found not guilty of two attempted murders, and the jury was unable to reach a decision on six more.

The Department of Health stated that the independent investigation aimed to provide answers to the babies’ parents and ensure that lessons were learnt.

However, because it is not a statutory inquiry, the inquiry will not have the authority to summon evidence or witnesses.

Non-compliance, according to Dr. Bill Kirkup, who has led non-statutory inspections for other maternity units, has not been a problem in his experience, and patients are “ready and willing to cooperate.”

The patient safety investigator told the BBC that he had found similarities between the Letby case and the investigations he had performed, such as managers accused of prioritizing “protecting reputations” above listening to worker concerns.

Some have expressed concern about the new investigation’s limitations.

Ms Dixon, a City of Chester MP, said that while she appreciated the goal to move quickly, the inquiry will rely on “the willingness of witnesses to attend.”

“I think in a case as grave as this, a judge would need to do that,” she told BBC Breakfast.

Hospital administrators ignored doctors’ warnings about Lucy Letby for months.
Former Crown Prosecution Service chief in north-west England Nazir Afzal shares Ms Dixon’s worries about the investigation of the UK’s most prolific child killer.

He prosecuted another nurse, Victorino Chua, who murdered people at a hospital in Stockport in 2011, prompting a non-judicial investigation.

Mr Afzal contended that nearly ten years later, several of the recommendations from the inquiry had yet to be properly implemented.

“When you have a judicial inquiry, there is some level of authority behind it that requires you to respond,” he explained to BBC Breakfast.

However, Dr Johnson, a consultant paediatrician and MP on the health select committee, stated that lessons must be learned fast and that the government may opt to establish a legislative inquiry at a later date if more powers are required.

“I understand that people cannot be compelled in the same way, but I would hope that people would still come forward,” she said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The verdict, according to Yvonne Agnew of the legal firm Slater and Gordon, is “not the end of our search for answers and our fight for justice for our clients.”

She stated that they were “determined” that the hospital, the NHS, and the medical profession as a whole learned their lessons.

Following the judgement, the Countess of Chester institution NHS Foundation Trust stated that it was “extremely sorry” that the crimes occurred in its institution and that it had made “significant changes” to its services.

Former hospital CEO Tony Chambers and former medical director Ian Harvey, who were in charge at the time Letby worked there, have stated that they will fully cooperate with the investigation.


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