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Healthcare worker arrested on suspicion of murder

By Lisa Mann

A healthcare worker at the Countess of Chester Hospital has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of six others previously in the hospital’s care.

The hospital has been subject to a thorough investigation into their and maternity care following the publication of MMBRACE-UK  (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK). The report reviewed deaths and babies who were stillborn throughout the UK in 2015. It found that there was a higher than average death rate within the Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust.

For every 1,000 live births within the Trust in 2015 they had a rate of 1.91. This was the highest rate from the 43 Trusts in its group. The average death rate within that group being 1.27 per 1,000 live births.

As part of the investigation, perinatal deaths (babies that have died within the first four weeks of life including stillbirths) were also examined. In this category there were 5.42 deaths per 1,000 live births. The average rate within hospital units of a similar size was 4.73 deaths per 1,000 live births.

As a result of the report, 21 hospital trusts including the Countess of Chester were asked in 2017 to investigate the higher than average death rates. Upon doing so the investigatory team within the Trust found that there were no “obvious factors” linking the deaths and the police were asked to be involved.

Reviewing the statistics does not do the matter justice. We cannot forget that behind every number we are talking about someone’s child.

Suzanne Munroe , Head of Clinical Negligence at Switalskis Solicitors said today: “Here at Switalskis, we act for many parents whose babies have been severely injured or died because of poor treatment during labour or shortly after. It is inconceivable to think that a healthcare professional would purposefully hurt patients in their care when they are at their most vulnerable. Our thoughts are with the parents and families of those involved and we hope that they will receive the answers that they need as part of the ongoing investigation.”

The tragedy for the NHS is that this has come on the back of the Gosport Inquiry . The organisation has been rocked by two scandals of shocking magnitude within as many weeks. It will take time to rebuild public confidence in patient safety within our hospitals. Patient safety is paramount and hopefully the investigations into the tragedies at Gosport and Chester will lead to changes to try to stop this from happening again.

If you have lost a baby or your baby was injured as a result of problems you suffered during your pregnancy or labour please contact the medical negligence team  at Switalskis Solicitors. To speak to a member of the team, please call us on 0800 138 0458 or email

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Lisa has worked in the legal sector for 17 years. She is a Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team.


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