'Is the priority speed?': Doctor who helped catch Lucy Letby calls for full public inquiry

Dr Ravi Jayaram spoke to ITV News' Paul Brand after his former colleague Lucy Letby was handed a whole life sentence for murdering seven newborn babies, and attempting to kill six more

The doctor who helped catch convicted murderer Lucy Letby has said the inquiry into her crimes needs to be upgraded to a statutory footing, and has called for senior NHS executives to be held to account for failings.

Dr Ravi Jayaram, a consultant paediatrician at the Countess of Chester Hospital, repeatedly raised concerns about his former colleague, who was jailed on Monday.

Letby, 33, will spend her whole life behind bars after she was found guilty of murdering seven newborn babies and attempting to kill six more, following a 10-month trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has suggested an inquiry, announced by the government into the former nurse's crimes, could be placed on a non-statutory footing, telling broadcasters it should "happen as quickly as possible".

But Dr Jayaram has questioned whether a non-statutory inquiry will provide conclusions that lead to "meaningful change" in how the NHS responds to patient safety concerns.

"I think the fact that it is a non-statutory inquiry just makes me angry more than anything else," he told ITV News.

"Why should it not be a non-statutory inquiry? There have been other inquiries into NHS scandals which have been statutory full public inquiries. Why on earth would this be announced as a non-statutory inquiry?

"We have to look really at what we want to get out of an inquiry. Yes, for resolution for the parents, the quicker the better, but is the priority speed?

"I would much rather have an inquiry that asked the right questions and took as much time as it needed to get the right answers."

Dr Jayaram has questioned whether a non-statutory inquiry will provide conclusions that lead to 'meaningful change' in how the NHS responds to patient safety concerns

Dr Jayaram has also voiced concerns over the inquiry being held "behind closed doors" and called for a "greater degree of openness" from those with authority within the NHS.

He said: "It's not conducted in public. It's conducted behind closed doors and as I understand it, the outcomes of a non-statutory inquiry are not necessarily binding to any great extent.

"And I think to get to the bottom of that, it has to be a full public inquiry and people should be compelled to give evidence.

"And I know that some of the executives said that they'd happily contribute and be part of it, but I think that there needs to be a much greater degree of openness."

When asked about the sentencing of his former colleague, Dr Jayaram said he was glad Letby had been "brought to justice".

However, the consultant added that the conviction does not change the fact that the families of those affected will "never get back what's been taken away from them".

Letby refused to attend Manchester Crown Court for sentencing, during which judge Mr Justice Goss said she had "premeditation, calculation and cunning in [her] actions".

She was also absent when the families of her tiny victims read out their impact statements, which detailed the trauma and anguish they have faced.

'I'm not a hero, I was just doing my job,' Dr Ravi Jayaram tells ITV News' Paul Brand

Dr Jayaram, who has been described as a "hero" by the families of the victims and the police for the part he played in the lead up to Letby's arrest, insisted: "I was just doing my job".

"It's my job to look after babies and children, and it's my job to do that to the best of my ability - as is with all my colleagues," he said.

"I'm glad that the justice system seems to have functioned properly and that she's been brought to justice.

"And it is absolutely correct that she's put in prison for life without any chance of release for the crimes that she's committed, but it doesn't change the fact that the parents of these babies and their families will never get back what's been taken away from them.

"And it's made me angry that she hasn't had the courage to be there to face up to them."

Baby murderer Lucy Letby to spend the rest of her live in jail.

Dr Jayaram said he has been left "incensed" by senior NHS management staff who he believes have failed to "put their hands up and admit that they got it wrong" when concerns about Letby were initially raised by doctors.

He said: "As far as I can tell the people in senior NHS management positions, there is no robust system of accountability of appraisal. This is the culture in the NHS and it has to change.

"If any meaningful change about how the NHS reacts and responds to serious and even relatively minor patient safety concerns changes as a consequence of all of this then I might possibly consider that I've done something heroic.

"Right now… I just think that I've done what I should have done."

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