August 22, 2019

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In court

NHS trust fined £80k after mental health patient fell from roof

An NHS trust has been fined £80,000 after one of its patients fell from the roof of a ward, despite it being warned about its potential danger in 2011.

The patient climbed on to the roof of Applewood Ward in Swindon in 2016. He fell off and was seriously hurt, after refusing to come down for 11 hours. The patient broke his leg and fractured his skull and jaw in the fall.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) was fined £80,000 at Taunton Magistrates’ Court, after pleading guilty to an offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to one patient and putting others at serious risk of avoidable harm at a hearing in May.

The trust said it had made significant changes to improve.

An AWP spokesman said: “We are continuing to work with NHS England to ensure that funding is made available for further improvement works needed.

“In the meantime we are carefully planning care and managing risk of harm on a patient-by-patient basis.”

The Care Quality Commission brought the prosecution to court.

Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals Dr Paul Lelliott said: “Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident – but part of a wider failure to deal with concerns over safety as they arose.

“The trust had failed to make basic improvements to protect the people in its care, despite having been aware of the dangers for years.

“They ignored clear evidence from their own reports on safety and as a result a patient suffered serious injury.”

He added: “I hope this case will serve as a warning to any other providers.”

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