Health Care Worker Arrested on Suspicion of Murdering Eight Babies

Police in England have arrested a healthcare worker on suspicion of murdering eight babies at a hospital.

The worker is also suspected of attempting to kill another six at the Countess of Chester hospital in Cheshire, in the north-west of the country. 

In May 2017, police started investigating the suspicious deaths of 15 babies and six non-fatal collapses, although this probe has now widened to cover the deaths of 17 babies and 15 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.

Detective Inspector Paul Hughes from Cheshire Police said: “Whilst this is a significant step forward in our inquiries, it is important to remember that the investigation is very much active and ongoing at this stage."

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A healthcare worker arrested on suspicion of murdering right babies at Countess of Chester hospital in England. Google Maps

“There are no set timescales for this coming to a conclusion but we remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation as soon as possible,” Sky News reported.

Police have not said if the arrested woman is a nurse, doctor or other health professional.

“We recognize that this investigation has a huge impact on all of the families, staff, and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public."

“This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children," Hughes added.

Ian Harvey, medical director of the Countess of Chester hospital, said the hospital was supporting the police.

“Asking the police to look into this was not something we did lightly, but we need to do everything we can to understand what has happened here and get the answers we and the families so desperately want,” he said.

“The Countess is now equivalent to a level one special care baby unit and we are confident the unit is safe to continue in its current form.”

A report in May by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said that there was in inadequate staffing at the hospital's neonatal unit and said there were gaps in medical and nursing rotas, poor decision-making and insufficient senior cover, The Guardian reported.

The hospital had carried out several independent expert medical reviews into the deaths before alerting the police.

"Asking the police to look into this was not something we did lightly, but we need to do everything we can to understand what has happened here and get the answers we and the families so desperately want," Harvey said in a statement.

Police say that the parents of the babies were being supported by specially trained officers during the investigation.