The hospital bosses who failed to get Lucy Letby out of the children's ward (2023)

lucy letby eraconvicted of murdering seven children and attempting to kill six othersin the neonatal unit of a hospital after a nine-month trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The jury was informed of doctors raised their concerns with managementwhen they learned of the number of unexpected deaths of children at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

In this article, The Telegraph outlines the concerns that were raised with the Director of Nursing, the Medical Director and the Head of Nursing of the Urgent Care Units and what they did about it.

Alison Kelly

Letby hospital director of nursing and quality accused of inactionafter reporting your objectionsAbout the killer nurse.

In the summer of 2015, Alison Kelly, head nurse, met with Dr. Stephen Brearey, the ward's chief pediatrician, to discuss the rise in deaths on the neonatal ward.

Dr Ravi Jayaram told the Manchester Crown Court: "Since autumn 2015 we have had serious concerns. As early as October 2015, they were cared for by a person in the role of Chief Nursing Officer.

“As physicians, we place our hope in a system and senior management that can escalate and investigate issues. The initial response was "it's unlikely that anything is going on". We'll see what happens'."

Ms Kelly, now Director of Nursing at Northern Care Alliance Rochdale Care Organization, is being questioned about her response to doctors' concerns and whether more could have been done to stop the murderous nurse.

Hefather of two whom Letby was found guilty of attempted murderIn April 2016, he claimed that the hospital "had an opportunity" to retain Letby last year when Dr. Jayaram raised objections.

"Had they reacted as initially suspected, they certainly would have been able to prevent further attacks on children," he said.

In a statement to The Telegraph, Kelly said: "It is impossible to imagine the pain of the families affected and my thoughts are with them.

“These are truly terrible crimes and I am deeply sorry that this has happened to them.

"We owe it to the children and their families to learn their lesson and I will fully cooperate with the announced independent investigation."

Trust accounts show that in 2019/20, Ms Kelly received up to £130,000 when she served as Deputy CEO to the Countess of Chester, among other roles.

Evidence emerged during the court hearing that doctors had raised concerns about unexplained falls in the neonatal unit.

Dr. Stephen Brearey, one of the world's leading pediatricians, conducted a review of the circumstances surrounding the baby's death and met with Kelly to discuss his findings in June or July 2015.

"Three deaths in a short period of time have caused concern," he told a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

The staff had already noticed that Letby was on duty when the babies died, but at the time they couldn't believe it was more than an "association."

"I think my comment during the meeting was, 'This can't be Lucy, not nice Lucy,'" Dr. Brearey told the court.

The doctors testified that, until October 2015, concerns about Letby were "on the radar" of the hospital's senior management.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr Brearey claimed he had never heard back after raising his concerns about Letby to Ms Kelly earlier this month.

In February 2016, an assessment of the Countess of Chester's situation was carried out by a neonatologist at Liverpool Hospital for Women.

Dr. Brearey told the court that he had sent the results of this analysis to Ms. Kelly and the medical director and had requested a meeting. According to the testimony of his colleague, Dr. Jayaram, it took the management three months to respond to this request.

The father whose children Letby tried to murder in April 2016 said "senior management" should be "held accountable" for failing to respond to doctors' concerns. He said if hospital directors had listened to staff sooner, "multiple deaths would have been prevented."

Kelly joined the Countess of Chester in 2013 with many years of experience under her belt, and a year later was chosen by the Nursing Times as part of a line-up of "leaders" in the profession who are likely to "leave a legacy".

In its glowing description, the magazine said, "Alison is considered a visionary by her staff because of her commitment to improving the work environment, which also benefits patient care."

When the children unexpectedly began to lose consciousness, it was only natural for the older doctors to come to her with their concerns.

When a local newspaper reported in 2016 that serious errors by the Countess of Chester's medical staff had increased, Kelly cited the staff's willingness to "set things right".

Since then, he has held prestigious positions elsewhere. Ms Kelly is currently Director of Nursing at Northern Care Alliance Rochdale Care Organization and was recently assigned to Salford Care Organization as interim Director of Nursing.

Mrs. Kelly did not testify at the trial.

Iana Harveya

The Countess of Chester's chief medical officer was promoted despite taking his time responding to a doctor concerned about the number of children dying.

Ian Harvey did not respond to a meeting request in connection with the unexpected death of a child for three months, a court has learned.

Dr Stephen Brearey, the hospital's chief paediatrician, told BBC News he had requested an urgent meeting with Harvey and the head of the nursing department, Alison Kelly.

However, she added that her request had been ignored for three months, and in that time two more children had nearly died. Finally, in May 2016, he met with senior management. "There was no question about my concerns about this meeting," he told BBC News.

However, top managers did not take his warnings seriously. Dr. Brearey said Harvey and Kelly listened as he explained her concerns about Letby, but she was allowed to continue working.

Around the same time that Dr. Brearey met with the managers, Mr. Harvey was promoted.

In May 2016, he added the title of Deputy CEO to his role as Chief Medical Officer, earning up to £175,000 a year.

According to Dr. Brearey, Mr. Harvey also pressured the consultants to stop reporting their concerns about Letby.

On June 29, 2016, one of the consultants sent an email with the subject: "Should we refer to an external investigation?"

"I think we need the help of external agencies," he wrote in an email shared with BBC News. "And the only institution that I think can investigate all of us is the police."

However, in a terse reply, Mr. Harvey wrote: "Action is being taken... All emails stop immediately."

Despite the doctors' wishes that the matter be referred to the police, Harvey asked the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to review the care provided in the neonatal unit. He also contacted Dr. Jane Hawdon, a specialist in premature babies, and asked her to review the case notes of the babies who had died on the ward.

According to the BBC, at the hospital's board meeting in January 2017, Harvey presented the conclusions of the two reviews.

The two recommended further investigation into some of the deaths, but Harvey told the board they concluded the unit's problems stemmed from problems with leadership and timing.

When Dr Susan Gilby took over from Harvey a month after Letby's arrest, she said her predecessor had warned her that she would have to take action with the regulatory body, the General Medical Council, against neonatal unit consultants who had raised the alarm. .

However, after reviewing the files left in his office, he discovered that in 2015 the executive team had agreed that the first three child deaths should be investigated by an external organisation, he told BBC News. This investigation never happened.

Now Harvey is likely to face questions about whether he reacted enough and whether Letby should have been removed from the troops sooner.

After the scandal broke, Harvey briefly became the face of the Countess of Chester.

He told the public: "Asking the police to investigate this matter was not something we did lightly, but we must do everything we can to understand what happened here and get the answers that we and the families so desperately want."

She also assured mothers-to-be that the neonatal ward "can safely continue in its current form."

It was supposed to be Mr. Harvey's swan song. When he resigned in August 2018, weeks after Letby's arrest, reports made it clear that he was simply following through on plans drawn up months earlier.

Last year he sold the four-bedroom house he and his wife owned in the countryside outside Chester and probably moved abroad.

Mr. Harvey joined the Countess of Chester in the mid 1990's as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in upper extremity and hand surgery. In the years that followed, Mr. Harvey rose through the career ladder to management positions, and in 2012, he became Chief Medical Officer.

In a statement to BBC News, he said: "At this time my thoughts are with the children whose treatment was the focus of the trial, and with their parents and relatives who have been through the unimaginable. I am sorry for all their suffering.

“As medical director, I was determined to keep the pediatric ward safe and support our staff. He wanted reviews and investigations to be done so he could tell the parents what happened to their children. I think there must be an investigation that takes into account all the facts that preceded this process and I will help you in any way I can."

Karen Rees

Nursing Directorrejected a request to exclude Letby from the jobafter the children died in his care.

Karen Rees, then head nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital's Urgent Care Unit, was charged in court with ignoring three warnings from a concerned doctor about the deaths of two young brothers who were being treated by Letby.

After two triplets died on successive days in June 2016, consultant Dr. Stephen Brearey testified that he called Ms. Rees, who was the manager on duty, to express his concerns.

Dr Brearey, head of the neonatal unit, told Ms Rees that he did not want Letby to return to work until the cause of death was investigated.

The lead doctor told the court he was concerned that he could not find any "natural cause" for the death of the first brother, named Baby O. He said he planned to raise the alarm when the second triplet, Baby P, began to deteriorate.

According to her testimony, Mrs. Rees refused to remove Letby from her post, claiming that there was no evidence to do so.

Recalling the phone call, the consultant told Rees that he did not want Letby to work "the next day or until the matter has been properly investigated."

Dr Brearey told the court: "The crux of the conversation was that I then asked him: Were you happy that you took responsibility for this decision, given that I and my fellow consultants would not be happy if the nurse went to work?" the next day?'

"She replied, 'Yes, I would be happy.' I asked her, 'Would you be happy if something happened to one of the children the next day?' She replied, 'Yes.'

Letby remained in her position until the following week, when the trust directors acted and removed her from the neonatal ward.

We have contacted Ms. Rees for comment.

In the fall of 2015, Ms. Rees was recognized for "leading from the front."

She had just been promoted from director of operating room to nurse manager in the emergency room at the Countess of Chester Hospital, and her achievements were recognized at an employee awards ceremony.

The typed certificate said it had developed "service and communication" in operating rooms in a way that led to a "safer experience for patients."

In November 2017, Ms. Rees was promoted to Assistant Director of Nursing. The Countess of Chester also honored the married mother of one with the prestigious Haygarth Medal for Nurse of the Year at a grand ceremony where she was hailed as an "unwavering nurse".

After the scandal broke, Mrs. Rees left the hospital.

Letby and Mrs Rees are believed to have remained in contact after Letby's arrest, and Mrs Rees was disappointed that she was not called as a witness at the trial.


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