IT is now exactly four months since a healthcare worker was arrested on suspicion of killing babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital – and she still has not been charged.

Cheshire Police told The Standard yesterday (Friday, November 2) that the young woman remains on police bail while the investigation continues.

Asked how long someone could be kept on bail, a spokesman said there was “no specific time limit” but the courts “review the bail status routinely”.

The situation has caused many people to question both the ethics and legality of keeping someone linked to such serious allegations when seemingly there is not enough evidence to bring charges.

One man wrote to several newspapers saying: “This lady hasn't been charged and has had her reputation sullied across the world. Surely the greater public good demands that certain questions be asked.

“Why did the police put out a press release allowing the media to identify [her] without having charged her? Why is the State allowed to place an innocent person under bail conditions when they haven't been charged?”

Dozens more have made similar comments on social media in recent months as updates on the case become conspicuous by their absence.

The hospital worker was arrested on Tuesday, July 3, on suspicion of murdering eight babies and attempting to kill a further six at the Countess neonatal unit between March 2015 and July 2016.

Police officers and forensic experts were then seen carrying out a meticulous search of a nurse’s home in Blacon.

But just three days later police released a statement which said: “Cheshire Police can confirm that the woman arrested has now been bailed pending further enquiries.

“We continue to recognise 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.

“Parents of all the babies continue to be kept fully updated and are being supported throughout the process by specially trained officers.

“This investigation is very much ongoing and there are no set timescales at this stage but as soon as we are able to provide any further updates we will do.”

Detectives have been probing the deaths of 17 babies and 15 non-fatal collapses at the Countess of Chester since May last year. The incidents were said to have taken place between March 2015 and July 2016.

Tony Chambers, chief executive of the NHS trust that runs the Countess, resigned on September 19.

In a statement announcing his decision to “step aside”, he said: “Recent times have been particularly challenging for the hospital not least of which is the ongoing police investigation into an increase in mortality rates in our neonatal unit.

“My thoughts will continue to be with the bereaved families as they await the outcome of the police investigation.”