North Wales’ health board bosses pledge support for Lucy Letby inquiry
Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter
North Wales’ health board will take in all the lessons to be learned from the Lucy Letby case, its leadership has pledged.
An extraordinary meeting of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board took place this week to discuss the submission of its financial accounts to the Welsh Government.
Interim chair Dyfed Edwards opened the meeting by saying it was taking place “in the shadow of Lucy Letby” and the “astonishing and harrowing stories that have shocked us all”.
Last week Letby was convicted by a jury of murdering seven babies and trying to kill six more while as a nurse just over the border at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit between 2015 and 2016.
She is the most prolific child serial killer in modern British history and was handed a whole life tariff when sentenced earlier this week.
Mr Edwards extended steep condolences “to all affected” and confirmed the north Wales health board would be collaborating with any inquiry going forward.
This commitment was echoed by interim chief executive Carol Shillabeer who said that whatever could be learned from the inquiry would be fully taken on board in north Wales.
She said: “The sense of shock is still huge for everyone in the NHS whether you work in the NHS or a patient.
“Particularly our thoughts are with those families that have been directly affected by the crimes of Lucy Letby. They are truly harrowing, our hearts go out to them and all the staff who were involved in our partner organisation across at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
“I’ve been in the NHS for 30-odd years and I go back to my first years when there was a truly horrific crime and then some years later that of Harold Shipman as well. These are truly devastating events that have happened and very shocking.
“There has been an inquiry that has been announced and I understand the Welsh Government and the Minister has fully supported that, as I know that we do as a board and as professionals, and perhaps as parents and users of services.”
Ms Shillabeer added that there would be “no stone left unturned in terms of what the learning is and how we might take that into account here at this health board”.
She said: “We will work hard and in an open and transparent way to understand how the NHS in North Wales can really gain a sense of learning from not just this event but when things go wrong in healthcare in a number of other settings.
“I very much hope we’re able to move forward with that spirit in mind, that we will be taking on board all the learning in the coming weeks, months and years.”
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