MINISTERS are on the hunt for a top judge to lead the Lucy Letby inquiry to gain full confidence of the victims' families.
Rishi Sunak is poised to beef-up the probe so witnesses can be compelled to give evidence under oath into the 33-year-old killer nurse.
The move would put it on the same footing as the Covid inquiry and infected blood scandal investigations.
Ministers are now on a hunt for a top judge to lead the probe into the nurse.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has tasked the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General's teams to draw up a shortlist of expert legal minds.
Government insiders hope the announcement on a judge or a top KC could be made as early as next week.
Pressure had been mounting to give it proper powers to demand anyone hand over evidence.
MPs, doctors and families had joined forces to it to get powers to compel everyone to take part.
Critics warned the bereaved families would lose faith in the probe as it stood.
There are fears that the current independent probe would have seen NHS figures involved in the case duck out and refuse to take part – causing yet more heartache for the families of evil Letby's victims.
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The 33-year-old nurse was found guilty of murdering seven infants and attempted murder of six more at the Countess of Chester hospital and has been sentenced to spend her entire life behind bars.
Yesterday the Health Secretary insisted he wanted the families to have "full confidence" in the probe.
She refused to face the families of her victims as she was sentenced earlier this week at Manchester Crown Court.
Powerful impact statements were read out from the people who had seen their lives torn apart by her reign of terror.
After a 10-month trial, there is still no one motive for why she killed the seven babies and tried to harm several more.
The year-long killing spree has meant doctors will look at 4,000 other cases of babies she cared for throughout her career to see if any more had been harmed by her.
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