Hospital bosses failed to investigate allegations against Lucy Letby and tried to silence doctors, the lead consultant at the neonatal unit where she worked has told the BBC.
The hospital also delayed calling the police despite months of warnings that the nurse may have been killing babies.
The unit’s lead consultant Dr Stephen Brearey first raised concerns about Letby in October 2015.
No action was taken and she went on to attack five more babies, killing two.
Letby has been found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others in a neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital, in Cheshire.
The first five murders all happened between June and October 2015 and – despite months of warnings – the final two were in June 2016.
BBC Panorama and BBC News have been investigating how Letby was able to murder and harm so many babies for so long.
We spoke to the lead consultant in the unit – who first raised concerns about Letby – and also examined hospital documents. The investigation reveals a catalogue of failures and raises serious questions about how the hospital responded to the deaths.
Dr Brearey says he demanded Letby be taken off duty in June 2016, after the final two murders. Hospital management initially refused.
The BBC investigation also found:
- The hospital’s top manager demanded the doctors write an apology to Letby and told them to stop making allegations against her
- Two consultants were ordered to attend mediation with Letby, even though they suspected she was killing babies
- When she was finally moved, Letby was assigned to the risk and patient safety office, where she had access to sensitive documents from the neonatal unit and was in close proximity to senior managers whose job it was to investigate her
- Deaths were not reported appropriately, which meant the high fatality rate could not be picked up by the wider NHS system, a manager who took over after the deaths has told the BBC
- As well as the seven murder convictions, Letby was on duty for another six baby deaths at the hospital – and the police have widened their investigation
- Two babies also died while Letby was working at Liverpool Women’s Hospital