NHS trust fined more than £1 million following patient deaths

NHS trust charged after a 30-year-old man bled to death and an 83-year-old man died trapped between a bed rail

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Wednesday 18 May 2022 19:51
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<p>Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire </p>

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire

The scandal-hit Shrewsbury NHS trust has been fined more than £1 million after it pleaded guilty to charges following two patients’ deaths due to unsafe care.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was fined following a hearing at Telford Magistrates court on Wednesday.

Judge Paul Goldspring imposed a fine of £800,000 on one of two charges relating to the death of 31-year-old Mohammed Ismael Zaman, and an additional £533,334 over a charge brought in relation to the death of Max Dingle, 83.

The court heard Mr Zaman died after suffering severe blood loss while undergoing dialysis in 2019, as reported by The Independent.

Another charge was brought against the trust by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over the death of Mr Dingle, who died in May 2020 after his head became trapped between a bed rail and a mattress.

Passing sentence on the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, judge Goldspring said the families of two patients, who died at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in 2019 and 2020 had suffered “unimaginable grief”.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has been at the centre of the NHS’s largest inquiry into poor maternity care which found last month almost 300 babies had died or been left brain damaged by the trust’s failures.

The trust was previously fined £4,000 by the CQC in 2020 after it was found to have failed to triage patients in A&E within 15 minutes. This fine was not linked to the latest prosecution however.

Opening the facts of the case against the trust, the CQC’s lawyer Ryan Donoghue said the failures in care provided to Mr Zaman “were the legal cause of his death, for which the trust is responsible”.

Mr Zaman (known as Bolly) attended the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to receive dialysis on 18 October 2019.

The CQC said the trust failed to ensure staff were adequately following guidelines regarding the connection lines being secured to his bed, which may have resulted in them becoming disconnected. He was found by staff “bleeding heavily from a disconnected line” and sadly died.

The CQC’s lawyer said of Mr Dingle’s death that his “head was trapped between the bed rails and mattress” after he was admitted with chronic lung disease.

An alarm was immediately raised when Mr Dingle was found, the court heard, and he was freed, but he died from a cardiac arrest.

Referring to the death of Mr Dingle, Mr Donoghue said: “The basis (of the guilty plea) is that the failures exposed him to a significant risk of avoidable harm.”

In a victim impact statement which was read to the court, Mr Dingle’s son Phil said they had shared a “very special bond” for 57 years.

He also paid tribute to the retired policeman, who lived in Newtown in mid-Wales, as a “mountain of a man” who was always the source of great advice.

The pensioner’s son flew back to the UK from his home in Australia to visit his father, but was told he had died before having chance to see him.

Fiona Allinson, director of operations for the CQC’s Midlands network, said: “People using health and social care services have the right to safe care and treatment, so it’s unacceptable that patient safety was not well managed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

“Both patients were severely let down due to the hospital not undertaking thorough and appropriate checks to ensure their needs were being met.”

Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust said: “Following today’s court proceedings, where the Trust accepted full responsibility and pleaded guilty to the three charges brought against us, we offer our sincere apologies and heartfelt condolences to the families we let down.

We are truly sorry for the pain and distress caused as a result of the failures in the provision of care.

A series of immediate actions were implemented following internal investigations and external review to ensure that steps were taken to address the failings, which has been recognised in the judgement today.”

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