March 26, 2018

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

NHS trust fined £2million over patient deaths

Southern Health NHS Foundation has been fined £2m for failures that resulted in the deaths of two patients.

The trust had admitted breaching health and safety regulations in relation to the deaths of Connor Sparrowhawk and Teresa Colvin.

Connor was found drowned in a bath in 2013. He was 18 years old and had suffered an epileptic fit.

Ms Colvin, 45, died after being found unconscious at a clinic in Hampshire in 2012.

Southern Health admitted to “systemic failures” and pleaded guilty in 2017 to breaching health and safety laws.

Passing sentence today at Oxford Crown Court, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said each death was an “unnecessary human tragedy.”

The trust will pay £950,000 for Mrs Colvin’s death and just over £1 million for that of Connor Sparrowhawk.


Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said it was a “regrettable fact” Dr Sara Ryan, Mr Sparrowhawk’s mother, and Roger Colvin, Theresa Colvin’s husband, had to campaign to uncover problems at the trust.

The judge paid tribute in particular to Dr Ryan who had to endure “entirely unjustified criticism” during her JusticeforLB campaign – named after her son’s nickname Laughing Boy.

A victim impact statement from Dr Ryan made for “almost unbearable reading,” he said.

Entirely preventable

He acknowledged the trust’s early indication it would plead guilty and said Southern Health had made it completely clear it would not attempt to shift responsibility to individuals.

In its submissions to the court, Southern Health acknowledged the deaths were “entirely preventable” and were “a matter of significant regret” it did not address its failures quicker.

3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Ken DayNigel DupreeSJP Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

It’s a pity this fine will mean £2m less money for patient care.

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree

Cost of KSi’s nothing by comparison with PRESENTEEISM’s costs of £30bn in lost productivity and, double that in social costs but, no worries have been absorbing that for 25 years so far without flinching and will continue to do so as long as the H&S Professionals carry on scratching their heads and sustaining a position of denial, not a river in Egypt, while sign-posting Health as someone else’s problem

Ken Day
Ken Day

Whilst the body corporate has rightly been penalised there appears to have been a controlling hand within the organisation that failed to act to prevent these foreseeable incidents. Why has no individual been prosecuted? From the Foundations statement it is also clear that they will not be taking take any disiplinary steps to deal with individuals who’s failures led to these avoidable deaths.