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  • Prevention of Future Deaths report: Finlay Finlayson (25 March 2024)

    Article information
    • UK
    • Reports and articles
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • Laura Bradford, Assistant Coroner
    • 25/03/24
    • Health and care staff, Patient safety leads


    'Vinney' died of pulmonary thromboemboli due to deep vein thrombosis with a background of metastatic carcinoma of the base of the tongue following cardiac arrest on 25 January 2019 at HMP Lewes (Cell 216 on C-Wing), whilst on remand. He was pronounced dead at 9.16 am.

    The jury considered that Vinney’s care was affected by the following issues, the absence of which may have delayed or changed the circumstances of his death. There was confusion and uncertainty about his medical conditions caused by information sharing and permissions issues with SystmOne, leading to an over reliance on Vinney’s own statements. Some poor record keeping on SystmOne and confusion over when to reference the system. This affected both plans and reporting of interactions. Failures in communication between agencies and shifts, not helped by the numbers of different staff and agencies involved, high demand and challenging workloads and associated delays in accessing healthcare.

    This was particularly relevant between 21 and 24 January 19. In particular a lack of quantifiable evidence, e.g. NEWS scores or notes of proportionate follow-ups and recorded observations between 21 and 24/1/19 which may have allowed any deterioration in Vinney’s condition to be missed. On 25/1/19, there was a grave and unacceptable failure in communications with two or three emergency radios switched off in contravention of prison rules and protocols. This was then compounded by a delay in timely response, i.e. the proposal of a phone call rather than an in-person response, which may have been longer had it not been for decisive intervention from comms. This was followed by unacceptable indecision on calling an ambulance, in which perceptions of Vinney’s mental health were a factor, and should have been automatic on account of his head injury.


    Matters of Concern

    • During the course of the Inquest the jury heard evidence about the difficulty in information being transferred over from Mr Finlayson’s GP surgery system, which uses SystmOne to the prison system (also SystmOne). The evidence was that information was not able to be freely shared between the two and it meant that there was a delay in healthcare staff in the prison accessing relevant information about Mr Finlayson’s long term health issues as well as  contact  with  his  GP  as  recent  as  a  week  before  going  in  to  prision.
    • Although there is evidence that the functioning of SystmOne has improved since his death there remains an issue with the interaction between SystmOne and other medical databases used in England and Wales. SystmOne appears to be the preferred system for many prisons and detention centres but  there are still many GP surgeries that use other systems.
    • The coroner heard evidence that if someone goes to prison and is linked to a surgery that uses another system (like EMIS) the notes have to be printed and scanned on to SystmOne and key information has to be input onto someone’s record by hand.
    • There is concern about the potential delay this process could cause and that key information could be missed by virtue of these systems not communicating with each other. The coroner heard evidence as to the importance of someone’s medical history being available for those within the prison setting to assist with careplanning and the provision of appropriate care and in my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken to make the transfer of this information more efficient.
    Prevention of Future Deaths report: Finlay Finlayson (25 March 2024) https://www.judiciary.uk/prevention-of-future-death-reports/finlay-finlayson-prevention-of-future-deaths-report/
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