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Trust prosecuted over hospital coma tragedy; CHARGES OVER PATIENT DEATH AT SCANDAL?HIT STAFFS.

Byline: JANE KIRBY Press Association newsdesk@birminghammail.net

THE trust responsible for scandalstricken Stafford Hospital is to be prosecuted following the death of an elderly patient who slipped into a diabetic coma.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said yesterday there is enough evidence to bring criminal proceedings against Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over the death of Gillian Astbury, aged 66, in 2007.

An HSE investigation into Mrs Astbury's death took place after the Francis Inquiry into events at Stafford Hospital finished.

An inquest into Mrs Astbury's death recorded a narrative verdict, but said a failure to administer insulin amounted to a gross failure to provide basic care.

Peter Galsworthy, HSE head of operations in the West Midlands, said: "We have concluded our investigation into the death of Gillian Astbury at Stafford Hospital and have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings in this case.

"HSE will be charging Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act."

Mrs Astbury died on April 11, 2007, of diabetic ketoacidosis, when she was an inpatient at the hospital.

Mr Galsworthy added: "The immediate cause of death was the failure to administer insulin to a known diabetic patient.

"Our case alleges that the trust failed to devise, implement or properly manage structured and effective systems of communication for sharing patient information, including in relation to shift handovers and record-keeping."

The case's first hearing will be at Stafford Magistrates' Court on October 9. Police investigated after Mrs Astbury's death, but the CPS ruled there was not enough evidence to bring a prosecution.

Last month, the Nursing and Midwifery Council found two nurses guilty of misconduct for failing to spot Ms Astbury was diabetic. It ruled that Ann King and Jeannette Coulson had failed to look at or update Mrs Astbury's records and failed to carry out blood tests.

Mrs Astbury's partner, Ron Street, said earlier this year he was pleased the HSE was investigating her death.

He said: "I don't necessarily want to see people behind bars, but I do want to see those who are found to be guilty to be called to account."

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Gillian Astbury died at Stafford Hospital in 2007.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 30, 2013
Words:379
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