SHP Online is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources
Download the Safety & Health Expo 2019 show preview
Priory Healthcare: £300k fine following death of 14-year-old patient
A healthcare provider has been fined £300,000 for its failings following the death of 14-year-old patient Amy El-Keria.
Lewes Crown Court was told how Amy, who had complex mental health care needs, had been a patient in the high dependency unit (HDU), upper court, at Priory Ticehurst House Hospital since 24 August 2012. She had been transferred to the East Sussex facility after one of several attempts to ligature at home.
On 12 November 2012, Amy was found with a ligature around her neck in her room. The 14-year-old was taken to hospital but had suffered irreparable brain damage and failure of multiple organs. A decision was taken to withdraw life support. Amy was sadly pronounced dead the following day, on 13 November.
The HSE’s investigation, which began in 2016 following the coroner’s inquest, found Priory Healthcare Ltd had failed to identify or put in place control measures that would have better managed ligature risks.
Priory Healthcare Ltd of Hammersmith Road, London pleaded guilty to a breach under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £65,801.38.
Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Michelle Canning said: “This is a heart-breaking case. Our detailed investigation uncovered a number of failures. Our thoughts remain with Amy’s family and we are so very sorry for their loss.”
According to the HSE, the company’s main failings were found to be as follows:
Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment relating to the presence of ligature points and ligatures on upper court;
Failure to identify the control measures necessary to reduce ligature risks, so far as is reasonably practicable;
Failure to consider relevant industry and NHS guidance to inform its risk assessment process and determine the correct fixtures and fittings for units where patients were at high risk of self-harm and suicide;
Failure to ensure an adequate review was carried out of the systems and control measures relating to ligature risks at Ticehurst House following concerns raised by external bodies;
Failure to ensure all staff working on upper court were trained and their work practices appropriately monitored with respect to life support techniques.
The Priory Group said in a statement: “We are truly sorry that this very sad incident occurred and extend our deepest sympathies to Amy’s family.
“We continue to invest significantly in improving patient safety at Ticehurst.
“The hospital is making strong progress under new leadership and continues to be rated ‘good’ in all areas by the CQC.”
The most-read health and safety prosecution and fine stories on SHP in March 2019.
Get Your Free Ticket to Jonny Wilkinson's Talk at Safety & Health Expo 2019
Arguably one of the best-known rugby players in the world, Jonny Wilkinson CBE famously kicked the drop goal that won England the 2003 World Cup with just seconds left in the final. Much of Jonny’s success on the field, however, took its psychological toll. Jonny has dealt with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In his honest, unguarded speech, entitled ‘Success on the field and mental health: a personal account of understanding what matters’, Jonny will recount how his focus and dedication to the sport he loves meant overlooking important parts of his life.