Mid Staffs NHS trust charged over deaths of four patients

Foundation trust that was at centre of patient care scandal faces charges relating to deaths at Stafford hospital between 2005 and 2014

The Health and Safety Executive has brought criminal charges against Mid Staffordshire NHS trust over the deaths of four elderly patients between 2005 and May 2014.

The HSE said it had charged the trust, which was engulfed by scandal, after a “thorough and comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of four deaths of patients under its care”. The allegations relate to health and safety breaches.

“We have concluded our investigation into the death of four patients at Stafford hospital and have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings in this case,” said Wayne Owen, HSE’s principal inspector in the West Midlands.

The HSE said the charges related to Patrick Daly, 89, who died on 13 May 2014; Edith Bourne, 83, who died on 22 July 2013; Ivy Bunn, 90, who died on 6 November 2008; and Lillian Tucker, 77 who died on 21 October 2005.

The case is due to be heard by Stafford magistrates on 4 November.

The Mid Staffordshire trust was at the centre of one of the biggest scandals to hit the NHS when a series of allegations of poor care resulting in patient deaths were made between January 2005 and March 2009 at Stafford hospital.

In 2009 Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of the Healthcare Commission, the regulator of NHS care standards at the time, said it was the most shocking scandal he had investigated.

Mid Staffordshire NHS hospital trust remains in place as a legal entity but no longer provides patient services. University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS trust took over the running of what was Stafford hospital and Royal Stoke University hospital in November.

The Mid Staffs special administrator, Tim Rideout, said the remaining “shell organisation” would oversee any “potential criminal liabilities”. “I am committed to bringing matters to a conclusion as efficiently and effectively as possible in the best interests of the families concerned,” he said.

Last year the trust was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay more than £27,000 in costs over what the judge described as “the wholly avoidable and tragic death of a vulnerable patient”. The HSE brought the unprecedented criminal case against the trust over the death of Gillian Astbury, 66, who died in 2007 because nurses at Stafford hospital failed to give her the insulin she required to stay alive.

• This article and a picture caption were amended on 4 November 2015. An earlier version of the article and caption wrongly stated that “an estimated 400-1,200 patients had died”. The reports by Sir Robert Francis QC on the care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust both concluded that it would be unsafe to infer from mortality statistics, on which the figures were based, that there was any particular number of avoidable or unnecessary deaths at the trust.


Mark Tran

The GuardianTramp

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