Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families of babies who died at the Countess of Chester Hospital Waiting, hoping and praying that a very sick new-born will come through leaves a permanent memory in the minds of the whole family. Thankfully many babies do make it through and grow into healthy children and adults.
Sadly some babies don’t make it and hearts break. How incredibly hard it must be for parents and families who also find that their baby’s death is possibly a murder. The emotional pain must be extreme.
Our thoughts go also to the staff who work in the hospital who have worked hard and professionally.
This has been a long chain of investigations some of which we have reported. We do not know and cannot comment on the guilt or otherwise of the case against the arrested nurse. That must go through the courts.
We do know that the NHS needs to reduce workload and increase the democracy in the management of staff, making more staff more confident to raise concerns.
The chain of events looks something like this. The numbers of deaths looked wrong. A report was commissioned. Then there was a follow up report, admissions of the most complex cases were restricted, the police were involved and now an arrest has been made. What happens now will be decided in the courts.
A year ago the Countess Of Chester Hospital published the following statement here
“The Countess of Chester Hospital has requested the input of Cheshire Police into its ongoing review of neonatal services.
In February this year we published the findings from an independent, clinical review into neonatal services at the Countess carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. This report pointed to 24 recommendations for improvement which are now underway. It included a further detailed case note review by an independent neonatologist that has been unable to answer all of the questions regarding the cause of death for a number of babies.
The Trust and its doctors have continuing concerns about the unexplained deaths and are very keen to understand that everything possible has been done to help determine the causes of death in our neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016.
As a hospital we have taken the clinical review as far as we can. We have now asked for the input of Cheshire Police to seek assurances that enable us to rule out unnatural causes of death.”
Since the 2017 report Chester stopped providing for these most complex cases until the concerns had been addressed.
A major report by MBRACE
started the chain of investigation. From this there has been a chain of events that lead to the arrest.
Neo natal care is a very skilled, very intense and caring part of hospital life. It is also very high-tech and involves cutting edge science. Babies are alive today who just a few years ago would have died. It is an important service and most of us know very dedicated staff involved in this care.
The deaths in Countess of Chester is a terrible story especially as the care offered to these babies matters so much to everyone and especially to the mums, dads and families.
Our campaign sends sympathy to all who mourn.