• Robert Spicer

Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust fined £107,000 after death of dementia patient

Death of dementia patient: £107,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust (2016) Maidstone Crown Court, January 21

Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust has been fined for safety failings after the death of an 87-year old dementia sufferer.

Significant points of the case

  • In April 2008 the dementia sufferer was being cared for by the Trust at a Unit in Sittingbourne. As he was being bathed he slipped from a hoist and fell, suffering serious injuries.

  • The HSE investigation found that there was poor communication between the nursing staff and the agency care workers. The care plan was unclear and was not shared with agency carers. There had been no consideration of the risk of using a bathroom in another ward which precluded active supervision of the agency workers.

The Trust was fined£107,000 plus £25,000 costs for breaches of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that it showed that it was not enough to have well-intentioned management procedures if these were not followed through at ward level. There must be a robust mechanism to communicate care needs to all staff, including temporary agency staff. Clear communication is an essential part of good management.

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