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Mid Staffs NHS Trust Admits ‘Very Significant’ Breaches Over Deaths Of Four Patients

Medical Negligence Experts Welcome Guilty Plea Over HSE Charges


The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty at Stafford Magistrates’ Court to a number of “very significant” health and safety breaches that led to the deaths of four elderly patients at Stafford Hospital.

The Court heard the deaths of Ivy Bunn, 90, Edith Bourne, 83, and Patrick Daly, 89 occurred after falls, while another patient, Lillian Tucker, 77, died after being given penicillin, despite hospital staff being told she was allergic to the antibiotic.

Entering the Trust’s pleas lawyer David Lewis told district judge Jack McGarva: “In relation to each of the charges I have the authority of the trust special administrator to enter a plea of guilty.

“I also have specific instructions to take this first public opportunity to express very sincere condolences to the families of all four individuals, and to apologise for the shortcomings in care which caused them so much pain and distress.”

Prosecutors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the court three charges related to a failure to conduct a proper risk assessment and identify controls to prevent falls, with a further charge related to poor record-keeping and management problems.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner and expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
We welcome the decision by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust to plead guilty to these charges and admit the serious health and safety breaches that caused the deaths of four elderly patients at Stafford Hospital.

“We represented families affected by these issues and although it has taken some time to get to this stage it is positive they have been spared a long and drawn out trial.

“It is extremely rare for the HSE to get involved with medical institutions so this prosecution indicates the severity of the problems at Stafford Hospital and shows that measures will be taken by the organisation to prosecute Trusts failing their patients. The case once again shines a spotlight on the importance of patient safety and the serious impact safety failures can have on patients, as well as their loved ones.

“These shocking failures are further proof that the NHS needs to embrace the Duty of Candour and ensure that it puts patients at the heart of every decision, even when things have not gone to plan. It is absolutely vital lessons are learned across the NHS from this tragic case to reduce the risk of similar incidents in the future.
Mandy Luckman, Partner

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