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Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust To Face Criminal Charges Over Death of Patient

HSE Says Enough Evidence to Prosecute Following Detailed Investigation


By Dave Grimshaw

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today (29 August) announced that there is enough evidence to bring criminal proceedings against Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over the death of a patient who entered a diabetic coma.

Gillian Astbury was aged 66-years-old when she died at Stafford Hospital in 2007. An inquest into Mrs Astbury's death recorded a narrative verdict, but said a failure to administer insulin to a known diabetic amounted to a gross failure to provide basic care.

The HSE has now decided to prosecute following an investigation launched in the aftermath of the Francis Public Inquiry into the Trust, which concluded earlier this year.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will now be charged under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act with the HSE alleging that the trust failed to devise, implement or properly manage structured and effective systems of communication for sharing patient information, including in relation to shift handovers and record-keeping.

Mandy Luckman, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who represents many patients who were treated at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Francis report and Public Inquiry shared the appalling conditions and treatment that some patients received at Stafford Hospital and has kick-started a period of change and improvements for the NHS as a whole.

“Throughout all the investigations and inquiries, patient safety must be at the heart of any reforms and recommendations and it is imperative that the words turn into actions to ensure that all patients within the NHS experience the high standards that so many received on a daily basis.

“We have seen the GMC (General Medical Council) and NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) taking action and the HSE prosecution is the next step in bringing to account those responsible for any sub-standard and unacceptable care.”

The case will be heard at Stafford Magistrates' Court on October 9 2013.

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