Ombudsman Rob Behrens comments on Lucy Letby verdict
Commenting on the verdict in the trial of Lucy Letby, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Rob Behrens recently said:
“We know that, in general, people work in the health service because they want to help and that when things go wrong it is not intentional. At the same time, and too often we see the commitment to public safety in the NHS undone by a defensive leadership culture across the NHS.
“The Lucy Letby story is different and almost without parallel, because it reveals an intent to harm by one individual. As such, it is one of the darkest crimes ever committed in our health service. Our first thoughts are with the families of the children who died.
"However, we also heard throughout the trial, evidence from clinicians that they repeatedly raised concerns and called for action. It seems that nobody listened and nothing happened. More babies were harmed and more babies were killed.
"Those who lost their children deserve to know whether Letby could have been stopped and how it was that doctors were not listened to and their concerns not addressed for so long. Patients and staff alike deserve an NHS that values accountability, transparency, and a willingness to learn.
“Good leadership always listens, especially when it’s about patient safety. Poor leadership makes it difficult for people to raise concerns when things go wrong, even though complaints are vital for patient safety and to stop mistakes being repeated.
"We need to see significant improvements to culture and leadership across the NHS so that the voices of staff and patients can be heard, both with regard to everyday pressures and mistakes and, very exceptionally, when there are warnings of real evil.”
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