Health Secretary orders independent inquiry into circumstances behind Letby crimes

The Government has ordered an independent inquiry into the Lucy Letby case, after the nurse was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others.

The Government said it will investigate the circumstances behind the crimes to ensure “vital lessons are learned”.

It will also look at the handling of concerns raised by staff at the hospital and what action was taken by regulators and the wider health service.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured) said: “I would like to send my deepest sympathy to all the parents and families impacted by this horrendous case.

“This inquiry will seek to ensure the parents and families impacted get the answers they need. I am determined their voices are heard, and they are involved in shaping the scope of the inquiry should they wish to do so.

“Following on from the work already underway by NHS England, it will help us identify where and how patient safety standards failed to be met and ensure mothers and their partners rightly have faith in our healthcare system.”

An inquiry chairman will be appointed in due course.

City of Chester MP Samantha Dixon had called for a “full, independent and public inquiry” into the case.

Her statement said: “The families that have endured this unimaginable suffering deserve to know exactly what happened, and those who use our NHS services need the reassurance that it can never happen again.

“Too many people now live with the consequences of the catastrophic harm caused by Letby.”

Letby, 33, was not in the dock when the verdict was reached at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.

She was accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder a further 10 while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016. She denied all charges.

The jury could not reach verdicts on six counts of attempted murder.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Rob Behrens called for “significant improvements to culture and leadership” following the guilty verdict.

He claims “nobody listened and nothing happened” when clinicians raised concerns about issues in the hospital’s neonatal unit.

“More babies were harmed and more babies were killed,” he added. “Those who lost their children deserve to know whether Letby could have been stopped and how it was that doctors were not listened to and their concerns not addressed for so long.”

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