Lucy Letby trial: doctors demanded CCTV cameras at neonatal unit

Senior doctors resisted nurse’s return to her duties unless CCTV cameras were installed at a hospital unit, Manchester Crown Court told

Senior doctors resisted nurse’s return to her duties unless CCTV cameras were installed at a hospital unit, Manchester Crown Court told

Court sketch of Lucy Letby
Court sketch of Lucy Letby. Picture: Alamy

Senior doctors demanded the installation of CCTV cameras at a hospital unit if Lucy Letby was allowed to return to nursing duties, her murder trial has heard.

Concerns over an ‘accumulating number of inexplicable collapses’ reached a tipping point with the deaths of two newborn triplets in June 2016, a consultant told Manchester Crown Court.

‘Key safety measures’ introduced, doctor tells jurors

Dr John Gibbs told jurors that a number of ‘key safety measures’ were then introduced, including the removal of Ms Letby from the neonatal unit.

However, a month later he said hospital bosses wanted Ms Letby – who the consultants had identified as ‘the common link’ to the collapses – back on the unit.

He told the court: ‘We said that should only happen if CCTV was put in each room in the unit.’

CCTV was not installed.

Concerns raised over the deaths of Child O and Child P

Dr Gibbs, now retired, went on: ‘In the 11 months before the police got involved, after we raised concerns about the deaths of (Child O and Child P), senior management were extremely reluctant to involve the police to discuss what had happened because we had to keep insisting the police be involved.’

Ms Letby is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.

She is said to have administered fatal doses of air to both Child O and P on successive day shifts.

Dr Gibbs reviewed Child P’s condition shortly after the death of Child O on June 23, 2016.

He told the court: ‘I remember feeling uncomfortable when I arrived on the unit and saw (Child O) and I thought: “Oh no, not another one”.

‘The deaths of the two triplets was a tipping point for realising something abnormal and wrong was happening on our unit.’

Defence suggests bias against accused nurse Lucy Letby

Ben Myers KC, defending, said: ‘The reality is, as we stand here now, you are heavily influenced by a bias against nurse Ms Letby that applies to all of you.’

Dr Gibbs replied: ‘I was most heavily influenced by what was happening to babies on the unit… there was only one common factor.’

Mr Myers asked: ‘You didn’t contact the police, did you?’

Dr Gibbs said: ‘That was difficult. Nurse Letby seemed to be involved in all of the cases that involved me. Other consultants were involved with other babies.

‘After the deaths of the triplets – very regrettably too late for them – because the concerns had reached a tipping point, safety measures were introduced and one of the key safety measures which the consultants were insistent on was Lucy Letby be removed from the neonatal unit and that was not a simple, straightforward decision.’

Mr Myers said: ‘You took your time asking for CCTV if your suspicions were so great, Dr Gibbs?’

Senior consultant had previously flagged concerns to management, doctor tells trial

Dr Gibbs replied: ‘I said increasing concerns were growing over that time. The tipping point was the tragic deaths of the triplets which, looking back, should not have happened in healthy boys.’

He said that Dr Stephen Brearey, the senior consultant in charge of the unit, had previously flagged concerns to management in 2015 about the association with Ms Letby and collapses of babies.

Last week Dr Brearey told the court he urged a hospital executive not to allow Ms Letby to work the day shift after the death of Child P on 24 June.

He said that she refused and it is alleged Ms Letby attempted to murder another baby, Child Q, on 25 June.

Jurors were told Ms Letby submitted a formal grievance to management after she was removed from the unit.

Ms Letby denies all the alleged offences which have been said to have been committed between June 2015 and June 2016. The trial continues.

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