Chief quits at baby-deaths health trust

The chief executive of a hospital at the centre of a police investigation has stepped down after going through what he said was “an extremely difficult time”.

Tony Halsall resigned yesterday as chief executive at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospital’s maternity unit is at the centre of a probe into the number of infant deaths there – reportedly at least seven.

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The investigation followed the inquest last year into the death of Joshua Titcombe, of Dalton, nine days after his birth at the hospital in October 2008.

The hearing in June ruled Joshua died of natural causes but that midwives had repeatedly missed opportunities to spot and treat a serious infection.

Then the trust was criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors carried out surprise inspections at the ward in June.

In statement on the trust’s website, Mr Halsall said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for me personally and professionally.

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“I have always been totally committed to driving through the changes that are essential in order to ensure high quality patient care for the patients of South Cumbria and North Lancashire.

“I believe that considerable progress has been made in recent months to address a number of issues the trust faces but I recognise that it is now appropriate for the lead to be taken by a new chief executive.”

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