The retired NHS manager relaxes with a glass of wine at the rural French home he shares with his wife. Now he’s accused of ignoring doctors’ concerns about Lucy Letby as she began her murderous rampage.

Ian Harvey, 65, was the £175,000-a-year medical director at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby murdered seven premature babies and attempted to kill six others.

But amid the aftermath of Letby’s 10-month trial – and after allegations he “fobbed off” parents of murdered babies – Mr Harvey is now locked in a bitter war of words between hospital managers and senior doctors over who, if anyone, should take the blame To yourself for not stopping the murderous nurse sooner.

Because while several advisers claim he has refused to listen to concerns about Letby following a spike in premature baby deaths in 2015 and 2016, Mr Harvey has questioned why it has been taking so long in a statement to the Mail took until the blood tests that revealed the result picked up Two of the babies had been poisoned with insulin.

With former hospital colleagues now pointing fingers at each other, the Mail has uncovered unanswered questions for those on both sides of this ugly dispute.

Former Medical Director of the Countess of Chester Hospital Ian Harvey is pictured enjoying his retirement at his sprawling French farmhouse with his wife Lesa

The medical boss, who earns £175,000 a year, has been accused of fobbing off the victims’ parents. He now finds himself in a bitter argument with other hospital managers and senior doctors over who is responsible for his failure to stop the murderous nurse

Suspicion about Letby arose in June 2015 after three premature babies died in hospital and another collapsed within two weeks – the equivalent of an average year’s deaths in just 14 days. While Letby, then 25, was the only employee on duty at the time, it seemed unthinkable that the popular nurse could have harmed the infants.

By the end of October 2015, seven premature babies had died. Again, it was noted that Letby was the only staff member present at each death, but this was still considered a coincidence by medical staff.

Senior physicians asked independent neonatologist Dr. Nimish Subhedar of the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust to investigate the deaths. He noted that the babies were stable and all had been unusually unresponsive to attempts at resuscitation, also noting that Letby was present in every case.

Neonatology consultant Stephen Brearey claims he read Dr. Mr Harvey denies this.

“It was claimed that the paediatricians informed me of their concerns in February 2016, but a meeting was not arranged until May 2016. I don’t recall any such communication,” he said in a statement sent to that newspaper.

He added, “Given the level of concern allegedly expressed by some of the pediatricians at the time, it is surprising that there was no follow-up to either my secretary or me to seek a response.”

During their four-day visit to the hospital in February 2016, the consultants also raised no concerns with the Care Quality Commission, the health regulator.

By then, Letby had killed five babies in nine months, but nothing was said about the rise in premature baby deaths.

Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby (pictured) has been convicted of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others

The Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby committed a horrific killing spree between June 2015 and 2016

The CQC says the trust’s advisors raised other concerns during the inspection. These included staffing levels and a lack of support from management, and “a culture of bullying where concerns they raised with management were ignored.” According to the CQC, this was followed up with Mr Harvey the same day so that “action could be taken in response”.

Still, it was noted that the hospital was run and managed by “an approachable and visible leadership team” whose staff felt “well supported” and “were able to voice concerns”.

Mr Harvey insists he had an “open door policy”, adding: “If I was in my office and there wasn’t a meeting, my door would be open and anyone could call, whether it was a professional or personal issue – like.” Many did. At no time prior to May 2016 did a consultant pediatrician come to my practice and discuss their concerns.”

Mr Harvey, who qualified as a doctor in 1981, came to the hospital in 1994 as a consultant orthopedic surgeon for traumatic conditions. In 2012 he joined the Board of Directors as Medical Director and was appointed Deputy Managing Director in May 2016.

Turning the tables on his former colleagues, he questioned why doctors didn’t realize a preterm twin baby had been poisoned with insulin back in August 2015 after sending blood samples for analysis.

One of the neonatal counselors noticed the abnormal results, but did not suspect foul play and did not share it with his colleagues.

In February 2016, a second infant also had a blood test, which revealed abnormally high levels of insulin, but the young doctors were unaware of the significance of this. According to Mr Harvey: “These blood tests were possibly the only concrete evidence we could have that accidental or malicious acts had harmed babies.” to meet with the police.”

As a result, when he and other fellow leaders met with police, he claimed “we had nothing to report but limited circumstantial evidence.”

It wasn’t until July 3, 2018 that Letby was arrested for the first time. This month, four consultant pediatricians reported Mr. Harvey to the General Medical Council (GMC). Just weeks later, Mr Harvey left the Trust at the age of 60 and, after more than two decades with the Trust, was left with a £1.8million pension fund.

During his farewell address to his colleagues a month later, he said: “I’m confident that this hospital can handle whatever it throws at it and will only get stronger because the teams are just so good here.”

Ian Harvey receives a retirement present in July 2018

A former employee told the Mail: “Around the time he retired I asked Harvey if he thought there might be a public inquiry into what happened and his words were, ‘You’d have to find me first’ , which bothered me.”

“He hinted that he wouldn’t be around for a long time.” The pediatricians definitely forced him into action. They told him, “If you don’t go to the police, we will.” There was a lot of foot dragging. They were frustrated.’

Mr Harvey and his second wife, Lesa, 63, sold their £400,000 home in the Cheshire village of Malpas and moved to the Dordogne, where they look after rescue horses.

It is suspected on social media that they spend their time caring for their animals, hosting their families, visiting restaurants and taking weekend trips to five-star hotels. But what should have been a peaceful retirement was marred by the Letby scandal.

The GMC conducted a “full investigation” into Mr Harvey for four years, contacted the police and obtained an independent expert’s report. According to a spokesman, the GMC “thoroughly reviewed all relevant information” before concluding last year that the case had not met the threshold for a referral to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

However, the parents of one baby killed by Letby claimed they were “completely fobbed off” by Mr Harvey when they sought answers about what happened to their child. Mr Harvey said he wanted to give the parents “detailed and accurate answers” but “once the police got involved we were advised by them not to do or say anything that might jeopardize the investigation”.

But attorney Richard Scorer, Slater & Gordon’s director of abuse and public investigations, who represents two families, claims the parents contacted him several months before the police call.

The parents of one baby killed by Letby (pictured) claimed they were “completely fobbed off” by Mr Harvey when they asked for answers about what happened to their child

Mr Harvey sent the first of four “very bureaucratic” letters in February 2017 asking parents to get in touch, Mr Scorer said, but did not respond to their calls and the promised meetings never materialized.

Mr Harvey said: “I have no access to any previous post or emails and am unable to make any specific comments.” I stand ready to accept proper accountability and will personally participate in the public inquiry. I will contribute fully, openly and honestly. “I will do whatever I can to help parents get the answers they deserve.”

A public inquiry will investigate the circumstances surrounding Letby’s crimes. Ultimately, a source familiar with the case told the newspaper, “One definitely gets the feeling that they are all clarifying their story and taking control of the story before an investigation begins.”

Additional Reporting: Daisy Graham-Brown

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