A female healthcare worker has been arrested in Cheshire, England, on suspicion of murdering eight babies and the attempted murder of six more at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
Police would not reveal whether the unnamed woman was a nurse, midwife, or doctor but did confirm that the arrests were part of what initially began in May 2017 as a probe into the suspicious deaths of 15 newborns and six non-fatal collapses at the neonatal unit.
Detective Inspector Paul Hughes, who is leading the probe, said Tuesday: “Since the start of our enquiries and, as the information gathering process has continued, the scope of the investigation has now widened.
“We are now currently investigating the deaths of 17 babies and 15 non-fatal collapses between the period of March 2015 and July 2016.”
“As a result of our ongoing enquiries, we have today arrested a healthcare professional in connection with the investigation. She was arrested earlier this morning on suspicion of murder in relation to eight of the babies and attempted murder in relation to six of the babies and is currently in custody,” DI Hughes confirmed.
‘Envy of the World’: NHS One of West’s Worst at Preventing Avoidable Deaths https://t.co/JkQyL5xftN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2018
The arrest followed the publication some months ago of a report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) into the hospital’s high infant death rate, reports The Telegraph.
The report found “no definitive explanation” for the deaths, and that while most were followed by a post-mortem examination, “these did not include systematic tests for toxicology, blood electrolytes or blood sugar since the infants died in hospital”.
So substantial were the RCPCH’s recommendations for improvement — 24, in total — the hospital stopped providing care for premature babies born before 32 weeks.
The hospital declined to comment whether any staff have been suspended, but insists that “the Countess is now equivalent to a Level 1 Special Care Baby Unit and we are confident the unit is safe to continue in its current form.”
‘Euthanasia Practised by Nursing Staff’ at Opioid Scandal Hospital, Whistleblower Told Police https://t.co/SgTbyrzHZI
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 22, 2018
The multiple murder investigations come after the NHS has faced one of the worst scandals in its history when a report published last month found that at least 456 patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital had died after the unjustified administration of opioids under the watch of Dr Jane Barton.
The report authors found that there was an “institutionalised practice of the shortening of lives” and a “disregard for human life” as elderly people, who should have been receiving convalescent care, where given powerful painkillers intended for dying patients.
One whistleblower referred to the hospital practice as “euthanasia”.
Last week, Breitbart London reported that a study prepared to celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday found that the universal healthcare system had a higher than average rate for newborn infant mortality compared to 17 other Western nations.