NHS trust fined for bath death

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The Independent Online
THE National Health Service trust responsible for a ward where an 83-year-old disabled woman drowned in a scalding bath, was fined pounds 50,000 with pounds 6,000 costs yesterday.

Harrow Crown Court, north-west London, was told overworked nurses on an understaffed ward were busy with other duties when Daisy Mills died in January 1993 at Wembley Community hospital run by the Parkside NHS Trust. Mrs Mills, of Alperton, west London, had been left alone for 10 minutes in a specially adapted hoist in a shallow bath. The ward had only two nurses for 21 patients.

The trust pleaded guilty to a Health and Safety Executive summons alleging that it had failed to conduct itself in a manner to protect those not in its employ.

Donald Broatch, for the prosecution, said that staff had left Mrs Mills to weigh other patients and on their return found she had drowned. The heat of the water had caused her skin to come away.

'The alarm was damaged and couldn't be reached from the bath and in any event wasn't working. This lady was clearly placed at risk,' he told Judge Roger Sanders.