Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust to be Prosecuted over Dementia Patient Death

Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust to be Prosecuted over Dementia Patient Death

Mid Staffs Trust are set to be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of a patient in April 2007.
Gillian Astbury suffered from dementia and died when nurses failed to make sure that she received her daily insulin injections which caused her to slip into a diabetic coma and die.
The HSE have said that the Trust would be charged for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act but said that no individual members of staff would have to face prosecution because of “insufficient evidence under health and safety laws.”
On Ms Astbury’s arrival to the hospital not all of the nurses were informed that she had diabetes and others said they were unable to check her notes because they were too busy.
She had high blood glucose levels but in spite of this nothing was done by the nurses. The inquest jury reached the conclusion that there was a “gross failure to provide basic care”.
Head of Operations for HSE in the West Midlands Peter Galsworty said. “We have concluded our investigation into the death of Gillian Astbury at Stafford Hospital and have decided that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings to the case.”
“Gillian Astbury died on 11 April 2007 of diabetic ketoacidosis when she was an in-patient at the hospital. The immediate cause of death was the failure to administer insulin to a known diabetic patient.
“Our case alleges 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” he said.
According to NursingTimes.net Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust is due to appear at Stafford Magistrates’ Court on 9 October.
The HSE admitted during the public inquiry that its practice was to ignore the law in relation to investigating deaths as a result of “clinical decisions about diagnosis or treatment” because there are not enough resources.
The HSE has outlined that it does investigate and subsequently prosecute some “exceptional cases” of the type.
In Robert Francis QC’s public inquiry report he described the situation as a “regulatory gap” and recommended that the Care Quality Commission be given the power to prosecute trusts.
The government have promised that HSE will receive sufficient funds.

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