Health Secretary Steve Barclay has hinted at changing the status of the inquiry looking into the crimes of Lucy Letby, saying he wanted to ensure the families affected had “full confidence” in the probe.

The government ordered an inquiry last week after Letby was found guilty of murdering seven babies and attempting to murder six others while working as a neonatal nurse. She was sentenced to 14 whole-life orders and will never leave prison.

Ministers said that “after careful consideration” a non-statutory inquiry into the circumstances at the Countess of Chester Hospital “was found to be the most appropriate option”.

But lawyers for the bereaved families called for a full statutory public inquiry to take place so there was “nowhere to hide”.

Speaking to broadcasters on Wednesday, Mr Barclay appeared to show a change of heart, telling reporters: “We will ensure that the legal framework for that has the full confidence of the families affected.

“And I’ll be engaging with them on that – whether that’s on a statutory or non-statutory basis – to ensure that inquiry, looking at issues such as whistleblowers and other actions related to this case are fully investigated.”

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