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Lucy Letby: ‘Defensive culture’ in NHS meant concerns about killer nurse were not acted upon, says ombudsman | UK News

NHS patients’ lives will continue to be “at risk” unless whistleblowing laws are changed in the wake of missed chances to catch killer nurse Lucy Letby, the health service ombudsman has told Sky News.

Executives at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby worked, failed to act on repeated concerns raised about her by doctors who linked the neonatal nurse to a growing number of unexplained deaths.

The government has announced an inquiry into how Letby was able to murder seven babies and attempt to kill six others.

Speaking in the wake of the case, Ombudsman Rob Behrens warned: “We know that routinely 11,000 people die avoidably each year in the NHS.

“We know that the NHS spends millions of pounds in litigation in cases involving perinatal death and other forms of mortality in the NHS.

“And so, it’s going to continue to happen unless everyone gets together under the leadership of ministers to address these issues. And there are no quick fixes.

“There needs to be changes to the law to enable whistleblowers not to be fobbed off and threatened in the way that happened in this case.”

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Letby: Why were the warnings ignored?

Mr Behrens said concerns raised about Letby were not acted on because of a “defensive culture” in the NHS which puts “the reputation of the trust above patient safety”.

He said: “We’ve seen it too many times. In too many places, where clinicians are stigmatised because they want to raise patient safety issues.

“And instead of being listened to time and again, what happens is that they are bullied, threatened, and then ultimately reported to the regulatory body the GMC in a disciplinary way.”

He added: “There is a culture which puts the reputation of trust in the NHS above the issue of patient safety.

“And turning that round is immensely difficult, but it is there and we have to learn from disclosures, by clinicians, by managers, by independent reports, principally by users of the service, by patients.

“And what is of great concern to me, as well as the adversarial culture which exists, is that we know that too many times, families and patients are not listened to. And there’s a lack of empathy and compassion”.

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Did hospital fail Letby victims?

Read more:
How police caught Lucy Letby
Inside killer nurse’s bedroom
The ‘average’ nurse who became serial killer

Mr Behrens has written to the health secretary to add his voice to those, including bereaved families, calling for the inquiry into the Letby case to be a statutory inquiry. where witnesses would be compelled to give evidence.

He has yet to receive a reply and is not confident of receiving a response from Steve Barclay.

Mr Behrens is not convinced a report into the failings at the Countess of Chester Hospital will prevent a repeat of yet another maternity scandal in the future, unless swift action is taken to enforce systemic change.

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Letby: Hospital doctor speaks out

Since 2015, three major inquiries have exposed the catastrophic failures that led to babies being harmed or dying at the Morecambe Bay, Shrewsbury and Telford and East Kent NHS hospital trusts.

A fourth inquiry into the Nottingham hospital trust is now under way.

“I think that just commissioning reports and hoping they will be implemented is not the answer,” he said.

“I think Bill Kirkup has made that clear from his report into East Kent, where he’s basically saying things that happened 15 years ago which he reported on in Morecambe Bay and nothing has changed.

“So this is about the leadership of the NHS, ministers, boards, managers, NHS England, not sufficiently addressing the culture and what is necessary to deal with that transformation.

“I’m not interested in blame. You know, the courts are about blame. They’ve done that in the Letby case.

“What I want to see happen is that there is learning from the fact that here and elsewhere, the board failed to intervene when they had the opportunity to do so, that senior managers had the mindset that the way to deal with this was to say no, this is not an issue.”

Leeds St James’s Hospital: Student nurse appears in court accused of planning terror attack on RAF base | UK News

A student nurse has appeared in court accused of taking a pressure cooker bomb to a maternity hospital in Leeds and planning a terrorist attack on an RAF base.

Mohammad Farooq, 27, was allegedly inspired by radical Islam and Jihad when he carried out “hostile reconnaissance” of the military base in Yorkshire on 10 January and 18 January after carrying out online research.

He is said to have constructed a viable bomb made from a pressure cooker, 13.7kg of a homemade low explosive mixture and a length of pyrotechnic fuse.

Farooq was arrested in the early hours of last Friday outside the maternity unit of St James’s Hospital in Leeds, where he had been due to work a shift.

He was allegedly in possession of the explosive device and an imitation firearm – a Gediz 9mm P.A.K semi-automatic pistol.

His actions at the hospital are not alleged to have been motivated by terrorism but by a grudge towards another member of staff.

Farooq, from Leeds, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday from a police station in Bradford wearing a grey tracksuit.

He spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth but was not asked to enter pleas to the three charges he faces.

Farooq is charged with one count of engaging in conduct with the intention of committing acts of terrorism between 12 July and last year and 20 January.

A bomb disposal unit at St James's Hospital, Leeds, where patients and staff were evacuated from some parts of the building following the discovery of a suspicious package outside the Gledhow Wing, which houses the majority of its maternity services including the delivery suite. A 27-year-old man from Leeds has been arrested in connection with the matter. Picture date: Friday January 20, 2023.

Wards on the Gledhow wing of the hospital were evacuated after Farooq was detained at around 5am last Friday.

Army specialists and a bomb disposal unit also attended the scene and a cordon was put in place as a precautionary measure.

Read more:
At least one dead in Spanish church ‘terror attack’ stabbing
British teenage extremist whose videos were linked to two mass murders in US jailed

Farooq is said to have told a man he “felt like killing everyone” before showing him a gun, then told police officers he had a bomb.

There was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody ahead of his next appearance at the Old Bailey on 3 February.

Man charged with murders of NHS nurse and her two children in Kettering | UK News

A 52-year-old man has been charged with the murders of a mother and her two young children in Kettering, Northamptonshire, police have said.

Officers arrested Saju Chelavalel after they were called to his address in Petherton Court on Thursday and found Anju Asok, 35, Jeeva Saju, six, and Janvi Saju, four, with serious injuries.

Ms Asok died at the scene despite treatment from paramedics, and her two children died later in hospital.

Post-mortem examinations concluded all three died as a result of asphyxiation.

Mr Chelavalel will appear at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Ms Asok was a staff nurse at Kettering General Hospital and the hospital’s chief executive Deborah Needham described her as “a committed and compassionate staff nurse, who was loved and respected by her dear friends and colleagues”.

“All our thoughts are with her friends and family as they come to terms with this sudden loss.”

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the family of Anju, Jeeva and Janvi, who we are determined to seek justice for.

“Incidents of this nature are incredibly distressing, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded to the 999 call on Thursday, or has been involved with the subsequent investigation, for the professionalism and respect they have shown.

“I also want to thank the local community as we know how upsetting it is for an incident of this nature to take place. We will continue to have members of our Neighbourhood Policing Team on patrol in the area and I urge anyone with any concerns to please speak to them.”

Nurse Lucy Letby helped to make celebratory banner to mark baby reaching 100 days old – then tried to kill her, court hears | UK News

Lucy Letby helped to create a banner to celebrate a premature baby reaching 100 days old – then tried to kill her, a court has heard.

The little girl had reached the milestone after she was born “very, very prematurely”, weighing only 535 grams.

Doctors at Wirral’s Arrowe Park Hospital gave the girl a 5% chance of survival, but she stabilised and months later was well enough to be transferred to the Countess of Chester Hospital, where nurse Ms Letby worked.

Weeks later, on the evening of 6 September 2015, nursing staff on the neonatal unit, including Ms Letby, put up a party banner in celebration of the baby’s 100th day of life.

The infant’s parents joined in the celebrations as a cake was brought into the unit, Manchester Crown Court heard.

They later went home, but received a call in the early hours of the next morning to say their daughter had vomited.

Medics noted the baby, referred to as Child G, had projectile vomited at about 2am and her abdomen appeared “purple and distended”.

Nurse accused of murdering seven babies

Her oxygen levels dropped, and she stopped breathing several times over the next few hours before she responded to breathing support on ventilation.

The prosecution alleges Ms Letby overfed Child G with milk through a nasogastric tube or injected air into the same tube.

The next day, the court heard, she messaged an on-duty colleague asking how the baby was, saying “poor parents”, then adding: “Awful isn’t it. We’d all been sat at desk at start of the shift making banner.”

The defendant later told her colleague: “Needs to go out.”

The colleague replied: “Too sick to move.”

Ms Letby said: “Oh no. Any idea what’s caused it?” To which, came the reply: “Nope. Just seems to be a circ (circulatory) collapse, chest seems clear.”

‘She looks awful’

The court heard Ms Letby visited the unit briefly again later that evening.

Afterwards, she messaged her colleague – who had finished her shift – saying: “She looks awful, doesn’t she.”

On learning the baby was to be transferred to another hospital, Ms Letby responded: “Just hope they get her there.”

Child G was transferred at 3am on 8 September back to Arrowe Park, where she recovered, but was moved back to the Countess of Chester more than a week later, the court heard.

The Crown alleges Ms Letby made two more attempts to murder Child G on 21 September.

Jurors were told Child G now has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and requires round-the-clock care.

Ms Letby, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

She had been given specialist training in care for the sickest babies at the neonatal unit in the Countess of Chester Hospital.

The trial continues.

Owami Davies: Met Police investigated after previously speaking to missing student nurse | UK News

The Met Police is being investigated after the watchdog learnt officers had previously been in contact with missing student nurse Owami Davies.

The 24-year-old from Essex was last seen on 7 July in Croydon after leaving her family home in Grays, Essex three days prior, and has not yet been found.

She was reported missing to Essex Police by her family on 6 July, with the force later handing the file over to the Met on 23 July.

However, on Saturday, Scotland Yard revealed its officers had spoken to Ms Davies on 6 July, after responding to an address in Croydon to concerns over the welfare of a woman.

Both the police and ambulance service attended and spoke to Ms Davies, who told them she did not want help.

At the time, she had not been marked as a missing person on the police database, and was only established later to be Ms Davies during the investigation to find her.

The Met said it is not investigating the officers in question, and its professional standards body was consulted, adding the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) requested the matter to be referred to them.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: “The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) were consulted and as there has been contact with police the IOPC were informed.

“The IOPC has requested the matter be referred to them.

“The officers are not subject to any current investigation by the DPS.

“The interaction recorded on the officers’ body-worn video has been viewed by members of the Independent Advisory Group and Owami’s family to ensure openness and transparency.”

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Last known image of missing nurse

The IOPC said in a statement: “We can confirm that we received a referral on August 5 from the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to contact officers had with Owami Davies in Croydon on July 6, after she had been reported missing to Essex Police.

“We are currently assessing the available information to determine what further action may be required.”

A renewed appeal to find Ms Davies was launched last week, with the British Transport Police saying she could still be using trains in the area.

The Metropolitan Police added: “Owami has been depressed and in the absence of her medication may use alcohol to relieve her depression.”

So far, five people have been arrested as part of the investigation, two on suspicion of murder and three on suspicion of kidnap – all of whom have been released on bail.

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 8721 4622, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Owami Davies: Fifth man arrested over disappearance of student nurse as Met Police renew appeal | UK News

A fifth man has been arrested over the disappearance of student nurse Owami Davies, with the Met Police renewing their appeal for information a month on from the last confirmed sighting of her.

The police have now arrested five people – two on suspicion of murder and three on suspicion of kidnap.

The most recent arrest was a 33-year-old man held on suspicion of kidnap on Saturday.

Four of those arrested have since been released on bail.

Owami was last seen in the early hours of 7 July as she walked along Derby Road, West Croydon.

She had left her family home in Grays, Essex three days earlier.

Owami Davies left her family home on July 4 and was last seen just after midnight on Derby Road

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Penney, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is a complex ongoing investigation involving a significant number of officers.

“We are working tirelessly to follow every line of enquiry, including extensive CCTV trawls, as we continue to search for Owami.

“We are now a month on from the last confirmed sighting of her. I cannot imagine what that time has been like for her family. We continue to provide them with whatever support we can.

“I am grateful for the help we have received from the public so far, but I must again appeal for anyone who has information – however insignificant they believe it might be – to get in touch.”

The Met’s Specialist Crime Command is leading the investigation to establish what has happened to Owami.

Anyone with information has been urged to contact the incident room on 020 8721 4622.

Owami Davies: Fourth man arrested on suspicion of murder over missing student nurse in south London | UK News

A fourth man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of student nurse Owami Davies.

The 24-year-old went missing after leaving her home in Grays, Essex, on 4 July.

She was last seen just after midnight on 7 July in Derby Road, West Croydon, south London.

On Wednesday, her mother made a “desperate” plea to the public to help find her daughter, whom she said was months away from finishing her nursing course and starting a job at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital.

“I am begging, I am asking for the public’s help, from the people, to say if you know, if you have heard or seen her, or she passed you, please speak up,” Ms Davies’s mother, Nicol Davies, said.

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police arrested a 22-year-old man at an address in Croydon on suspicion of murder.

He is the fourth person to be arrested, after police had previously detained three men, aged 23, 27 and 32.

Police also released new CCTV images of Ms Davies, from the night she was last seen in a shop and on Derby Road.
CCTV released by police show Ms Davies in a shop in Croydon

Investigators are looking to speak to the driver of a white van, that was parked on the road.

Ms Davies was with a man and crossed the road just as the van pulled out, police said, adding the driver would have had a “good opportunity” to see both of them.

The Met Police said this remains a missing person enquiry.