Former chief executive of Lucy Letby hospital questioned on camera for first time

Tony Chambers would not address claims that he overlooked concerns about Lucy Letby, when questioned by ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand

The former chief executive of the hospital where Lucy Letby murdered babies has been questioned on camera for the first time, refusing to address claims that he overlooked concerns about the nurse.

ITV News approached Tony Chambers outside a house in Bolton, after he repeatedly declined requests for an interview.

Asked if he ignored the concerns of doctors at the time of Letby's murders, Mr Chambers responded: "I'm going to save it for the public inquiry."

It is the first time that he has been seen since Letby was found guilty last month of murdering seven babies, making her the worst serial child killer in British history.

Mr Chambers declined to answer when asked if he had anything to say to the families of the babies who were killed and harmed by the nurse, or whether he regretted his actions at the time.

Since the verdicts, the former chief executive has been accused by consultants at the Countess of Chester Hospital of suppressing concerns about the nurse.

Dr Ravi Jayaram told ITV News in August that at a meeting with Mr Chambers in 2016, the then chief executive told the doctors to "draw a line" under their suspicions, warning that if they "crossed that line there will be consequences".

Dr Jayaram and other doctors were subsequently forced by the Countess of Chester Hospital Trust to apologise to Letby for suspecting her.

'There are some things that don't need to wait for a public inquiry - to admit you made some errors would be a good start,' said Dr Ravi Jayaram reacting to the video

It wasn't until a year after doctors raised concerns with executives that the trust alerted the police.

Dr Jayaram told ITV News that he believes lives may have been saved if he'd been allowed to speak to them sooner.

Reacting to ITV's footage of Mr Chambers, he said: "What's really made me angry looking at his reaction, is his dismissive attitude.

"For the sake of the families of the babies that were harmed, for one of the people in senior management to come out and apologise, it would be so important.

"There are some things that don't need to wait for a public inquiry - to admit you made some errors would be a good start."

The only other response from Mr Chambers since the trial has been via written statement.

Responding to an interview request from ITV News last week, he said via email: "The trial, and the lengthy police investigation have shown the complex nature of the issues raised; the families deserve answers, it is right that their wishes have been heard.

"As I have said previously, I will co-operate fully and openly with the inquiry."

Immediately after the verdicts were announced, Mr Chambers said in a separate written statement that he was "deeply saddened" by what had come to light and that he was "truly sorry for what all the families have gone through".

Lawyer Richard Scorer of Slater Gordon, who represents some of the victims' families, said in a statement: "It is imperative that all aspects of this case, and particularly the actions of management in response to concerns raised about Letby, are fully investigated by the upcoming statutory inquiry, and we look forward to the inquiry starting its work as soon as possible."

Tamlin Bolton, Solicitor at Switalskis Solicitors, who represents some of the other victims' families, said: “The Trust had a duty of care towards our clients’ babies.

"The evidence heard during the criminal trial indicates that governance at the trust played a role in not stopping Letby sooner.

"The families we represent have questions to ask about the decision-making by senior management at the Trust. Alongside that duty of care, there is also the duty of candour which should not be overlooked here.

"That requires admissions and truth telling when something has gone wrong and that there is openness and transparency from the NHS staff.

"We hope that the Inquiry will get them the answers they deserve.”

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