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Lincolnshire Trust fined after patient suffered serious avoidable harm

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been ordered to pay a total of £111,204 in fines and legal costs after pleading guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to an elderly patient, causing them avoidable harm, following a sentencing hearing on Friday, 25 March at Boston Magistrates’ Court.

The case was taken by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under regulations 12 and 22 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

The case against  United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust involved the care of an elderly patient, Iris Longmate, who was admitted to the Greetwell Ward at Lincoln County Hospital on 20 February 2019.

On March 3, 2019 Iris fainted and fell unsupervised from a commode, and was found face down on the floor in her room. Iris sustained spinal injuries and a cut to the head as a result of the fall, but then also suffered significant burns to her thigh and left arm as a result of being pressed against a radiator whilst being assessed by staff following the fall.

Iris was subsequently transferred to Queens Medical Centre for assessment and treatment. She sadly contracted pneumonia in hospital and died on March 14, 2019.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust pleaded guilty to a single offence of failure to provide safe care and treatment causing avoidable harm to Iris, for which the trust was fined £100,000. The court also ordered the trust to pay £170 victim surcharge and £11,034 costs to the CQC.

The trust was found to not have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that safe care and treatment was provided, resulting in avoidable harm to Iris. In pleading guilty to the offence of causing avoidable harm to Iris, the trust also acknowledged that other patients on the Greetwell Ward had also been exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

Fiona Allinson, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: "This death is a tragedy. My thoughts are with the family and others grieving for their loss."

"People have the right to safe care and treatment, so it’s unacceptable that patient safety was not well managed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust," she said. "Had the trust addressed the issues with the exposed heating pipes before Iris fell, she wouldn’t have suffered such awful burns injuries."

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Source: Medscape, 2 April 2022


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