Doctor says hospital bosses failed to act on concerns over Lucy Letby

Doctor says hospital bosses failed to act on concerns over Lucy Letby

TV doctor says he was ordered to apologise to Lucy Letby after warning hospital bosses about her – as government launches independent probe into how case was handled

  • Dr Ravi Jarayam said months passed before police were called about Lucy Letby

The consultant whose evidence helped convict child killer Lucy Letby says he believes several children’s lives could have been spared if hospital bosses had acted on his suspicions sooner.

Dr Ravi Jarayam, senior paediatrician at the Countess of Chester Hospital, said he warned NHS managers of concerns about Letby months before police were called.   

He said executives ordered him to ‘draw a line’ under his worries and he was even told to apologise to Letby in a mediation meeting, ITV News reports.

Police were eventually contacted by the hospital trust nearly two years after the deaths of the first of the seven babies Letby was today found guilty of murdering.

Following Letby’s conviction today, the government has ordered an independent inquiry into the circumstances behind the horrific murders.

Dr Jayaram said: ‘I do genuinely believe that there are four or five babies who could be going to school now who aren’t.’

Dr Ravi Jayaram (pictured) said concerns were reported to NHS bosses at Countess of Chester Hospital months before police were called

Letby was convicted of seven charges of murdering infants between 2015 and 2016 at Countess of Chester Hospital

Speaking outside the Countess of Chester hospital today, medical director Dr Nigel Scawn said: ‘I speak for the whole trust when I say how deeply saddened and appalled we are at Lucy Letby’s crimes’

Dr Scawn (pictured) walked away without answering as a journalist asked him: ‘Why did hospital managers try to stop Lucy Letby from being investigated?’


Letby – wearing a blue hoodie with the strings covered in pink glitter – is taken from her house in handcuffs after being arrested by Cheshire Police in July 2018 

Medical Director Ian Harvey is said to have clamped down on doctors who raised suspicions, telling them via email that there was ‘no smoking gun’ as Letby was allowed to return to the ward.

Dr Jayaram described how he was forced by managers to endure a mediation session with the killer nurse whom he still regarded as dangerous.

He told ITV News: ‘It was bizarre.

‘To listen to her saying, ‘I’m coming back next week, will you work with me?’ And of course I was having to say, ‘Well, if the trust have deemed that you are coming back to work, I will work with you, yes’ – because I wasn’t happy.’

The government inquiry will seek answers for the parents of the murdered infants, exploring the wider circumstances around what happened at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Besides the handling of concerns and governance. It will also look at what actions were taken by regulators and the wider NHS.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay 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.

‘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 Labour 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.’

Speaking outside the hospital today, medical director Dr Nigel Scawn said: ‘I speak for the whole trust when I say how deeply saddened and appalled we are at Lucy Letby’s crimes.

‘We are extremely sorry that these crimes were committed at our hospital and our thoughts continue to be with all the families and loved ones of the babies who came to harm or died. We cannot begin to understand what they have been through.

‘This case has had a profound impact on our patients and our local community and also our staff, who come to work every day determined to provide safe and high quality care for all of our patients.

‘Our staff are devastated by what has happened and we are committed to ensuring that lessons continue to be learned.

‘We are grateful for the co-operation of our staff, especially those that have maintained the utmost professionalism while giving evidence in this trial.’

Dr Scawn walked away without answering as a journalist asked him: ‘Why did hospital managers try to stop Lucy Letby from being investigated?’

Two babies died on the unit in 2013 and there were three deaths in 2014.

Children’s nurse Lucy Letby (pictured in a custody photo, left; and while working in hospital, right) went on a year-long killing spree while working at the Countess of Chester Hospital

Letby sat in the dock wearing a black jacket as she listened to the prosecution lay out their case in Manchester Crown Court 


No babies died between when Letby was removed from the unit in July 2016 and when police were called in by the hospital in May 2017.

During this period, the trust chief executive was Tony Chambers and the medical director was Ian Harvey.

Dr Jayaram said Chambers held a meeting with consultants in January 2017 in which he stated: ‘I’m drawing a line under this, you will draw a line under this, and if you cross that line, there will be consequences for you.’

Hospital executives are alleged to have doctors they would face ‘blue and white tape’ all over the ward if they followed their suggestion of  calling police.

When Letby was eventually removed from the unit, she even had the audacity to launch grievance against the trust.

The grievance found that medics had made comments which were ‘unsubstantiated’.

Doctors were advised to apologise to Letby or face a possible referral to the general Medical Council.

ITV News has seen a letter to Letby, which consultants allegedly wrote under duress: ‘Dear Lucy, we would like to apologise for any inappropriate comments that may have been made during this difficult period. We are very sorry for the stress and upset that you have experienced in the last year. Please be reassured that patient safety has been our absolute priority during this difficult time.’

Mr Harvey retired in August 2018 – a month after Letby was first arrested – after he reportedly notified Mr Chambers at the start of that year of his intention to retire.

He had held other managerial roles within the trust and was medical director for six years.

Mr Chambers served six years in his post before he resigned in September 2018.

He said he made the decision to ‘allow the trust to focus on its future’ as the police investigation continued.

Former director of nursing Alison Kelly left the Countess of Chester in 2021 and works in a similar position at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Salford Royal Hospital and Royal Oldham Hospital.

At the Countess of Chester in 2015 and 2016, there was a significant rise in the number of babies who suffered serious and unexpected collapses in the neonatal unit.

Letby’s presence when collapses took place was first mentioned to senior management by the unit’s head consultant in late June 2015.

Concerns among some consultants about the defendant increased and were voiced to hospital bosses when more unexplained and unusual collapses followed, the court heard.

But Letby was not removed from the unit until after the deaths of two triplet boys and the collapse of another baby boy on three successive days in June 2016.

Letby was confined to clerical work and in September 2016 registered a grievance procedure.

It emerged during legal argument in the trial – in the absence of the jury – that the grievance procedure was resolved in Letby’s favour in December 2016.

Letby was due to return to the neonatal unit in March 2017, but the move did not take place as soon afterwards, police were contacted by the hospital trust.

She was suspended on full pay from the moment she was arrested in July 2018.

It is understood she was sacked when she was charged in November 2020.

Letby’s parents Susan and John Letby arrive at Manchester Crown Court this morning

Even after paediatricians raised their suspicions about her activities, hospital executives initially refused to remove her from the unit. When they eventually did so they chose to give her a desk job in the patient safety department.

CLICK HERE to listen to The Mail+ podcast: The Trial of Lucy Letby 

It is understood Letby was suspended from work when she was arrested in July 2018, but remained on full pay, receiving her estimated £30,000-a-year salary, or a total of around £75,000, until she was sacked when she was charged in November 2020. 

nurse on the unit described the crying of one of Letby’s victims as ‘relentless, almost constant and with no fluctuation’. 

Letby, who joined her colleagues on work social events, carried out her first murder the day after returning from a hen do in York. 

She also struck before and after a holiday to Ibiza, telling colleagues she was ‘back with a bang’. 

After her eventual removal, she went on holiday to Torquay with her parents. She put them through the ordeal of attending each and every day of her trial and then witnessing her eventual conviction.

Mostly, Letby chose to inject babies with air while her colleagues’ backs were turned or they’d briefly popped out to look after another baby. 

Sometimes it was an overdose of milk, fed via a tube directly into their stomachs.

Her modus operandi would change according to the opportunities she could create for herself.

Tragically, she learned what police came to know as they investigated her litany of crimes – that it takes both very little time, and very little movement, to cause catastrophic harm to a premature baby.

Letby attacked so frequently, and seemingly so casually, that she didn’t always remember her victim’s name.

To help her remember, she took home scores of confidential medical sheets – not, as she claimed, because she liked to collect paper, but as a trophy so she could put a name to a murder. 

In part she was able to go undetected for so long because her colleagues – most of whom innocently counted her as a trusted friend and confidante – could not imagine that a fellow nurse might by killing the babies they were trying to raise from prematurity.

A glance at her 2016 diary – a little girl’s affair with a ‘cute’ doggie picture on the front cover and flower doodles inside – shows she was constantly busy.

Texts between Letby and the unnamed doctor were read out in court. They appeared to show the doctor comforting the killer nurse as she feigned upset after the death of one of her victims

And in another exchange over WhatsApp, Letby appeared to chat about her blossoming friendship with the doctor – who prosecutors said she had tried to impress by creating ‘crisis situations’ where they could work alongside each other to save the babies she had poisoned

READ MORE – How did Lucy become a baby murderer? Church-going ‘vanilla killer’ who holidayed with her parents and slept with teddy bears

There were references to the long shifts she liked to do because she ‘so wanted to help’, to salsa classes with her friends, or else meals followed by late-night cocktails at a bar in Chester. 

Amelia Dyer, a Victorian baby farmer, murdered infants in her care over a thirty-year period and is estimated to have had hundreds of victims. 

A new investigation will be focused mainly on Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where Letby attended a training course in 2015.

But detectives are also likely to review the records of babies born at the Countess of Chester Hospital where she is already known to have attacked babies in the year from June 2015 to June 2016.

Letby started work there after finishing her nursing degree at Chester University.

The court heard suspicions were first raised about Letby when three babies died in just over a fortnight, in June 2015, a full 12 months before she was eventually removed from the unit.

During a text exchange with a friend, Letby denied she and the male doctor were flirting. Letby is pictured pulling a face on a night out

Killer nurse Letby would often pull funny faces for photos while out with friends. Two of her murders took place shortly after returning from a week-long holiday to Ibiza

Letby – who grew up with two loving parents – is pictured as a young girl  

READ MORE – Married nurse who had an ‘affair’ with Letby: Nurse attacked babies knowing he’d come and help 

Managers repeatedly refused to believe Letby was to blame and even tried to have her reinstated on the ward – months after doctors insisted she be removed from frontline duties.

Only when police were eventually called in was Letby finally arrested. 

A source told the Mail that Letby’s mother was distraught – wailing and crying and even telling police: ‘I did it, take me instead,’ in a desperate bid to protect her. 

During the course of their investigation officers discovered two baby boys, from separate sets of twins, had been ‘deliberately’ poisoned with insulin eight months apart. 

The results of their blood tests had been missed by doctors who had no idea there was a ‘poisoner at work’.

Both Baby O, a triplet, and his brother, Baby P, were murdered after four paediatricians raised their suspicions about the link between the nurse’s presence and the deaths they had already witnessed.

Letby texting a colleague after the death of Baby A 

After the deaths of Baby A and Bay C, says: ‘There are no words, it’s been awful’ 

In this string of messages, Letby tries to suggest the babies’ deaths was linked to health problems 

The nurse describes ‘crying and hugging’ the parents of Baby E, who died in her care 

Letby celebrated a winning bet on the Grand National shortly after she attempted to murder twin boys

The texts end with Letby crowing that police ‘have nothing or minimal on me’ 

READ MORE – Letby’s ‘treasure trove’ of sick souvenirs

READ MORE – Detectives launch new investigation reviewing cases of babies treated by Letby

And even when the lead consultant, Stephen Brearey, went back to management in the hours after Baby P’s death on June 24, 2016, his request to have Letby taken off the neonatal unit was turned down flat.

Letby, whose duvet bore the childlike motif ‘Sweet Dreams’, came to court most days with a comfort blanket and clutched a small, stress toy in her hands while in the witness box. 

Over 12 months she murdered five boys and two girls at the Countess, often attacking her victims at night, when there were less staff on duty or their parents had reluctantly left their children’s bedsides to get some food or sleep. 

After killing the newborns, the court heard Letby appeared animated and excited, offering to bathe, dress and take photographs of the deceased infants for their distraught and unsuspecting parents. 

She also revelled in their grief, searching for them on Facebook – not only in the immediate aftermath but sometimes months and even years later.

It was a bonus if she could ‘help’ bereaved parents by preparing a memory box for them – hand and foot prints of their lost baby, a photograph of two dead twins laid out in a Moses basket, a condolence card for another baby in time for the funeral.

Calculating Letby covered her tracks by altering handwritten nursing charts or making false entries in the computerised nursing notes to make it seem like a baby was deteriorating or that she was feeding or administering medication to other children in a different part of the unit when her victims collapsed. 

She also gas-lighted her colleagues, feigning upset when babies died, or suggesting medical reasons for their collapse or death to deflect blame from her murderous acts. 

Source: Read Full Article