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Mid Staffordshire prosecuted for first patient death

The first criminal prosecution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has been announced for the death of a patient. Diabetic Gillian Astbury died from a lack of insulin when she was admitted to hospital following a fall in 2007.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed it will prosecute, with the Trust due to appear before Stafford Magistrates Court on 9th October for the first hearing.

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.

“Gillian Astbury died on 11th April 2007, of diabetic ketoacidosis, when she was an in-patient at the hospital. 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.”

Radical restructuring was recommended for the Trust in the Francis review, published earlier this year, after it emerged that failings of care could have caused hundreds of unnecessary deaths.