London (CNN)A health worker in northwestern England has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and attempted murder of six others, police in the UK said Tuesday.
UK health worker arrested over death of eight babies
Police said the arrest was part of a wider investigation that began last year into the death of 17 babies and 15 "non-fatal collapses" at the Countess of Chester Hospital between March 2015 and July 2016.
"As a result of our ongoing inquiries we have today arrested a healthcare professional in connection with the investigation," Detective Inspector Paul Hughes said in a statement, without giving further details of the woman detained. "She was arrested earlier this morning on suspicion of murder in relation to eight of the babies and attempted murder in relation to six of the babies and is currently in custody."
"We recognize that this investigation has a huge impact on all of the families, staff, and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public," Hughes added. "Parents of all the babies are continuing to be kept fully updated and are being supported throughout the process by specially trained officers."
The hospital's medical director, Ian Harvey, said the facility was continuing to support the police.
"Asking the police to look into this was not something we did lightly, but we need to do everything we can to understand what has happened here and get the answers we and the families so desperately want," he said, adding that the hospital's neonatal unit was "safe to continue in its current form."