Former head of nursing at Letby hospital referred to regulator

Alison Kelly is referred to Nursing and Midwifery Council after concerns about the handling of fears raised by consultants about Lucy Letby
Alison Kelly

Alison Kelly is referred to Nursing and Midwifery Council after concerns about the handling of fears raised by consultants about Lucy Letby

Alison Kelly

The former director of nursing at the Countess of Chester Hospital, Alison Kelly, has been referred to the nursing regulator following concerns about the handling of consultants' fears about Lucy Letby.

News that Ms Kelly could face a fitness to practise case comes after an inquiry was announced into circumstances behind the murders and attempted murders of babies, including how hospital managers dealt with concerns raised about Letby.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) confirmed to Nursing Standard that Ms Kelly, who is now director of nursing at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust in Salford, has been referred to the fitness to practise process.

The NMC said Ms Kelly’s referral had been paused at the request of police pending the outcome of Letby's trial. The regulator confirmed it will now investigate and take regulatory action if needed.

Ms Kelly was director of nursing at the Countess of Chester Hospital before leaving in 2021. She oversaw nursing at the hospital while Letby was working in its neonatal unit.

Trial heard consultants raised concerns about Letby a year before she was removed from nursing duties

Letby was sentenced to life in prison on 21 August for the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others between June 2015 and June 2016.

During the trial at Manchester Crown Court jurors heard how consultants had raised concerns about Letby’s association with baby deaths as early as June 2015. But she was not removed from nursing duties until June 2016.

Meetings were held between the hospital’s neonatal unit head consultant, Stephen Brearey, Ms Kelly and other managers at the end of June 2015.

Ms Kelly has been suspended from her current role.

The NMC’s action comes after the government ordered an inquiry into the circumstances of the case, including how concerns raised by clinicians were handled.

Following the verdicts in Letby’s trial the NMC confirmed it will strike Letby off the nursing register.

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