Between June 2015 and June 2016 staffing levels were insufficient to run the Special Care Baby Unit at Countess of Chester Hospital as a level 2 Local Neonatal Unit. The role of the unit was to provide high dependency and some intensive care to new born babies. Concerns were raised and an independent review was conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and The Royal College of Nursing, which found gaps in the rotas. The unit was subsequently downgraded to a level 1 unit while investigations continued.

A year ago police proceeded to launch an investigation into the increased mortality rates in the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital. They were concerned about a ‘greater number of baby deaths and collapses than normally expected, and have been investigating the specific deaths of 17 new born babies between March 2015 and July 2016 as well as 15 further non-fatal collapses.

Today it has been confirmed that a female healthcare professional has been arrested on suspicion of murdering eight babies and attempting to kill six others. Cheshire Police have confirmed “This is a significant step forward in our enquiries it is important to remember that the investigation is very much active and ongoing at this stage. 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."

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers at Freeths have extensive experience of stillbirths, and neonatal deaths which have been caused by negligence. Jane Williams, Carolyn Lowe and Claire Cooper also recently became affiliated with The Foundation for Infant Loss. Our Clinical negligence team also has years of experience and specialist knowledge of brain injury cases caused during/immediately following birth.

If you, or a loved one suspect that you may have received poor obstetric or neonatal treatment then we may also be able to help you. Please contact one of our national team:-

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) on 0186 578 1019 or carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/