Lucy Letby

Just reading the BBC website. The whole thing is very deeply disturbing, unsettling and distressing. God only knows how the affected families must be feeling.

As someone who worked for many years as a scientist in the NHS I recognise only too well the failings in the system. The whole thing is beset with agendas that seem to overide evidence and even common sense. Absolutely tragic and unforgivable. The people concerned who delayed taking action in the face of clear evidence should be dismissed and possibly even made to face criminal charges themselves.

As for Lucy Letby herself, I am no psychiatrist but it strikes me that she is someone who is clearly seriously mentally ill. I would expect her to remanded for psychiatric reports before sentencing.

Makes one wonder how many more potential time bombs exist in the system. The thought is chilling.

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BBC 1 Panorama covered this, last night - 1 hour - available on the BBC i Player.

The shock to me, is how the Managers virtually ignored the senior Doctors - trying to avoid making their Hospital look bad. That worked out, then…

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An example of how cognitive dissonance and obsession with targets and reputation has undermined looking at the evidence in front of the managers’ noses

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Many years ago now the NHS went through a series of reforms which meant that the power for making many decisions was removed from senior medical staff and handed to so-called hospital managers. These people by and large have zero medical knowledge and were bought in from various industries. Perhaps no real surprise then that things go belly-up.

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On BBC Radio 4, tonight, they said that the Hospital Managers mostly came from a Nursing background - and sided with the Nursing staff, against the Doctors…?

YMMV.

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Yep. We put our lives in others hands in many ways. The Surgeon, the Airline pilot, the Nurse…

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I’m sure then that that is true here. I can only speak from my own personal experience and that is that the managers where I worked were drafted in from the like of the Water Authorities. Perhaps, and hopefully, things may have changed since my time.

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We must clearly wait for the outcome of any psychiatric reports before passing judgement on Ms Letby. If she is indeed deemed to be mentally ill and therefore not responsible for her actions, then she is as much a victim herself as her victims were. She has destroyed her own life and that of her family as well as her victims and their families.

If that is the case then one must ask how she managed to gain access to the nursing profession and to remain in it and gain such a responsible position. Something somewhere is very wrong.

I suspect that she will spend the remainder of her life in a secure hospital.

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To be pedantic, being mentally ill does not necessarily mean an individual lacks capacity, or criminal responsibility. It will depend on the diagnosis. She wouldn’t have stood trial if psychotic or fully lacking capacity, she would have been detained under the Mental Health Act (‘sectioned’) to a secure unit

By some estimates up to 40% of adult prisoners in the UK have a mental illness. Only a small percentage are in secure hospitals.

And to further populate pedants corner I suspect her diagnosis will be of personality disorder (narcissistic?), which is not always classified as a mental illness but a developmental mental disorder. Unless complicated by intercurrent mental illness most people with PDs are usually considered to have criminal responsibility. Quite a few are in secure hospitals though! It is complicated…

Bruce

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Having worked in the health service in the 1970s and 80s it saddens me to see that little has changed when things go wrong. Covering up and stopping information getting out was often the main priority then.

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‘We must learn the lessons…’ is the usual response. But what about the lessons from previous cases - such as Shipman…? Or Allitt…?

The Lessons got kicked into the long grass, it seems…

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Watch the movie ‘The Good Nurse’ for a US version of the same issues. It is based on a true story.

Bruce

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My own experience exactly.

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I have an observation. I believe the NHS is the largest employer in Europe, close to 1.4m employees.
I work a few hours a week for Britain’s 2nd largest private employer, about 330k employees.

Some of us, complain from time to time, about being treated as idiots. However, with this many employees, there is proven to be, a percentage of badly behaved, ( I am being very polite), people. It is a statistical certainty, unfortunately.
So we all have to be treated as potential disaster areas.
Sadly, there are a percentage of bad people amidst all demographic groups.

The key is to minimize risk, I believe my current employee is quite good at it. Others may vary.

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I recall a case in the 80’s that I was a witness to where the deliberate actions of someone may have ‘contributed to the death’ of a patient. The medical staff backed the individual up despite me witnessing a senior member of staff saying to the person at the time “be it on your own head” and later denying it. I knew the assistant administrator well and he was shocked and wanted to investigate. He was warned off by his boss who said words to the effect of, if you want a future career in the health service I advise you to drop this. He had a mortgage and a family and so he did. I left soon after knowing the truth would never come out.

That wasn’t the only case but it was one of the worst ones.

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Just as you say Collywobbles. Health care has throughout history attracted a few people who will do harm, and gives them opportunity, but the numbers are tiny.

Bruce

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I was surprised this case has been in court for 10 months!……i think i will wait for the Judge to summarise and give guidance…….The families need more than some journalists who have not sat through all this agony…….it needs yet another public enquiry?

Not wishing to downplay in the slightest the suffering of the bereaved parents, which must be beyond imagination, I was struck by the fact that Letby’s parents were in court throughout. Their suffering, too, must be difficult to fathom - on top of everything else, she is their only child.

Mark

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Which you are being.

Such a sad case on so many levels. Almost too difficult to comprehend.

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