The Thirlwall Inquiry was set up in October 2023 to investigate the events at the Countess of Chester Hospital and their implications following the trial, and subsequent convictions, of former neonatal nurse Lucy Letby of murder and attempted murder of babies at the hospital. Announcing the inquiry work programme online this morning, Lady Justice Thirlwall committed to investigating the issues “from the ward to the boardroom”.

The Chair has already designated a number of parents of babies named on the indictment as Core Participants. Eight applications have also been received from organisations within the healthcare sector.

The Chair now invites applications for Core Participant status from any other interested organisation or individuals. It is open to anyone to apply for Core Participant status, but the Chair will then decide whether they meet the legal criteria in Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 and having regard to the fact she must act fairly and avoid any unnecessary cost.

A Core Participant is a person, institution or organisation that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry, and has a formal role defined by legislation. Core Participants have special rights in the Inquiry process. These include receiving documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report. You do not need to be a Core Participant to provide evidence to the Inquiry. Further information can be found in the FAQs section.

The Core Participant application window will be open from Wednesday 22 November 2023 until Monday 11 December 2023. Applications should be made in accordance with the Core Participant protocol.