The HSE has reported that Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £366,000 after the death of a patient on a specialist dementia ward.

Norwich Crown Court heard how the 78 year old female, had been admitted to the Julian Hospital, on 28 September 2014, as a patient on the Blicking Ward. The Blicking Ward is a specialist ward for patients suffering with dementia. On 16 October 2014 the patient was reported missing and was later found face-down in a bath full of water in one of the bathrooms on the ward.

An investigation from the Health and Safety Executive found that the Trust did not have sufficient policies or procedures in place for managing the safety of patients. The Trust had also failed to complete an appropriate risk assessment for the patient and take steps to prevent vulnerable patients having unsupervised access to bathrooms. At the time of the incident the Trust did not have adequate systems and arrangements in place to ensure that patients under their care on the ward were effectively monitored. .

The death was ruled as accidental by the coroner, but Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £366,000.

Anthony Brookes, of the HSE commented that “This was a tragic and preventable death…It is vital that patients’ needs are taking into consideration and Hospital Trust’s carry out appropriate risk assessments. They need to make sure the correct work systems are put in place to ensure they are managed but also appropriately monitored.”

Hospital staff owe all patients a duty of care.  At Ringrose Law, we understand that when that duty is breached, the consequences can be traumatic for more than just the victim.

To find out more, contact our Medical Negligence specialists in our Personal Injury team. We have offices around Lincolnshire and Newark– drop in to speak to us, or call us on 01522 561 020.


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