The secretary of state for health and social care, Steve Barclay, has announced that the inquiry into the crimes committed by the former neonatal nurse, Lucy Letby, will be given statutory powers.
The government highlights that, while statutory inquiries do take longer to conclude, moving to statutory footing means the investigation can compel witnesses – such as former and current staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital – to provide evidence.
Unless the chair of the inquiry elects otherwise, this will also mean said evidence must be heard in public. The person to chair the inquiry has yet to be chosen, although the health secretary has indicated it will likely be a judge.
The Lucy Letby Inquiry
The inquiry will look into the wider circumstances around Letby’s crimes, including how regulators and the wider health service acted, as well as the concerns which were raised and how they were handled.
Steve Barclay said: “The crimes committed by Lucy Letby are truly harrowing, and my thoughts remain with the families of her victims. Following her conviction, we announced an inquiry and said the nature of this inquiry would be shaped by the families.”
He continued: “Having now discussed this with the families, we will launch a full statutory inquiry giving it the legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence. This statutory public inquiry will aim to give the families the answers they need and ensure lessons are learned.”
The terms of reference for the inquiry will be published in “due course” by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Image credit: iStock