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Lucy Letby was handed a whole life order and will never be released from jail
By Daniel O’Donoghue
BBC News

Parents of babies attacked by nurse Lucy Letby received a “total fob off” from a hospital boss when they pleaded for answers, their lawyer has said.

One family said said they received “no proper explanation or clarification” about the collapses of their twins – one of whom was killed.

Former Countess of Chester Hospital medical director Ian Harvey has been accused of a “shameful” failures.

Mr Harvey has apologised for not communicating more fully at the time.

He added: “Having read the heart-rending victim impact statements, I know how desperate the parents are for answers and I will help them as best I can at the public inquiry.”

Letby, 33, was ordered to spend the rest of her life in jail on Monday.

Her murder of seven babies and attempts to kill a further six between June 2015 and June 2016 made her the UK’s most prolific child serial killer in modern British history.

Ian Harvey was medical director at the hospital where Letby carried out her attacks

Richard Scorer, from law firm Slater and Gordon, which is representing two of the families affected, criticised Mr Harvey for not responding more fully to the troubled parents’ queries.

He was medical director at the time Letby carried out her killings but retired in August 2018, a month after she was first arrested.

Mr Scorer said: “Our clients received a series of anodyne letters from Harvey containing no proper explanation or clarification.

“The letters invited them to contact Harvey for more explanation and they tried to contact him repeatedly, but despite many attempts to get through to him they never received a return call.

“Our clients have described his response as a ‘total fob off’.

“It seems that Harvey had little interest in passing any meaningful information to the parents, responding properly to any of their concerns, or complying with any duty of candour to them.”

Lawyer Richard Scorer said his clients were ignored

He added: “In our view this failure to address parental concerns was shameful and another matter which needs to be investigated by a statutory inquiry with the power to compel witnesses and the production of documents.”

In a statement issued to the BBC, Mr Harvey said: “I’m sorry they felt fobbed off. I wanted to give detailed and accurate answers, but this was difficult while the reviews and investigations were taking place.

“Once the police were involved, we were advised by them not to say or do anything that might jeopardise their investigation.

“I was told all communication had to go through the police and not come from the hospital. I apologise for not communicating that clearly enough at the time.”

According to reports, Mr Harvey was referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2018 following allegations he “misled the public in media statements”, encouraged “an atmosphere of secrecy and fear” and failed to act “appropriately or in a timely manner” when consultants raised concerns.

Anthony Omo, director of fitness to practise and general counsel at the GMC, said: “In 2018 we received a complaint about Ian Harvey which we promoted for a full investigation.

“During our investigation, we liaised with the police, obtained an independent expert report and a witness statement, and thoroughly examined all relevant information.

“At the conclusion of our investigation, our senior decision makers considered all of the evidence and decided that the case did not reach the threshold for referral to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for a hearing.”

Statutory inquiry

Mr Scorer said his clients were now “very keen” to see a statutory inquiry set up to “compel people like Harvey to come and give evidence and compel the production of documents”.

He said: “Some of this has been looked at in the criminal trial, but the criminal trial focuses on the particular offences that were committed, we now have to move on to looking at the surrounding circumstances and the way in which management dealt with this.

“That’s why we need the inquiry, but it has to be an effective inquiry. It has to have teeth, it has to be able to compel people to come and give evidence on oath.

“It has to be able to force the hospital to disclose all the relevant documents all those things are needed to make the inquiry effective.”

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