HOSPITAL TRUST SENTENCED OVER FATAL LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE AND PATIENT WINDOW FALL

HOSPITAL TRUST SENTENCED OVER FATAL LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE AND PATIENT WINDOW FALL

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been ordered to pay a total of £350,000 in fines and costs for serious safety failings relating to two separate matters. The first concerns at least seven patients being infected with legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ Disease, from the hospital’s water system. Fifty-four year-old Raymond Cackett died in March 2010 as a direct result of developing Legionnaires’ Disease. It also contributed to the death of 74-year-old patient James Compton in June 2007. A further five patients were infected at the hospital between 2006 and 2010, as was a hospital visitor. The second incident involved a vulnerable 80 yearold patient falling almost five metres from an inadequately restricted window in June 2012. She suffered a broken back and ankle. Chelmsford Crown Court heard how an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified a catalogue of failures relating to both matters. In particular, the Trust failed to monitor the hot and cold water systems adequately or ensure that key parts of the system, such as the shower heads and hoses, were kept clean. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was fined £100,000 with costs of £162,000 after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for the period between 28 February 2004 and 31 December 2010 in relation to the legionella cases. Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for the fall incident. It was fined a further £75,000 with additional costs of £13,000.

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