Hospital Trust put health at risk

In a case of money going from one part of the public purse to another, Chelmsford Crown Court has fined Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust a total of £350,000 including costs for two safety breaches. Of this, £262,000 was for failings to do with the management of water systems that led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in which two people died and six others including a visitor were infected. The court heard that the Trust did not monitor their hot and cold water systems and nor did they clean vulnerable risk areas such as shower heads and hoses. This was despite numerous warnings about the risks, and a previous prosecution a decade earlier after a patient had died at that time.

The other £88,000 related to inadequate window restrictors that enabled an 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease to fall to out of a window in Horndon Ward and break her back and ankle. NHS guidance stated that a risk assessment should have been made and there should have been a policy to ensure that windows above ground floor level couldn’t be opened more than 10cm.

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