Skip to main content

Lucy Letby Hospital bosses were misled, former chairman claims

THE ex-chairman of the NHS trust where serial killer Lucy Letby worked believes the board was “misled” by hospital executives, it emerged yesterday.

The nurse was convicted last week of murdering seven babies and trying to kill another six at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire.

Sir Duncan Nichol said the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was told that there was “no criminal activity pointing to any one individual” despite mounting concerns.

Letby targeted the babies between June 2015 and June 2016, when they were dying or suddenly collapsing at five times the average annual rate in the hospital's neonatal unit.

But the board was not alerted to the problems until July 2016, by which time 13 babies had died. At a meeting, the board then agreed to ask for the deaths to be externally investigated.

The trust initially turned to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which conducted a review of the unit but told hospital executives they should conduct a separate “thorough external independent review of each unexpected neonatal death.”

Ian Harvey, then medical director at the hospital, contacted London-based neonatologist Dr Jane Hawdon. The doctor, who specialises in the care of newborns, did a brief review of each baby’s medical notes.

However, she said she did not have the time to conduct the thorough investigation the Royal College had recommended.

It is understood Dr Hawdon did not speak directly to the board but sent her report and it was up to hospital executives to brief the board on its findings.

In a statement to the BBC, Sir Duncan said: “I believe that the board was misled in December 2016 when it received a report on the outcome of the external, independent case reviews.

“We were told explicitly that there was no criminal activity pointing to any one individual, when in truth the investigating neonatologist had stated that she had not had the time to complete the necessary in-depth case reviews.”

In response to Sir Duncan’s statement, the hospital’s then chief executive Tony Chambers said that “what was shared with the board was honest and open and represented our best understanding of the outcome of the reviews at the time.”

Mr Harvey said: “The statements I gave to the board were true to the best of my knowledge.”

A non-statutory inquiry has been ordered into the case. 


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.



Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 8,738
We need:£ 9,262
12 Days remaining
Donate today