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HSE responds to The Guardian article on its decision to prosecute Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

30 August 2013
“Mid Staffs trust to be prosecuted over death of diabetic patient” – The Guardian, 29 August 2013

Sir, Your article (30 August, p8) implies HSE’s prosecution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is a change in its regulatory role in the health service.

This is not the case. HSE has previously prosecuted NHS providers, including Trusts, in relation to similar incidents.

Our current regulatory role in the health sector concerns cases in which there is evidence of safety management failings. Where the failings are deemed to be clinical or professional failures, other regulators have been considered better placed to lead.

On legal advice, we waited until the conclusion of the public inquiry chaired by Robert Francis QC, before making a decision on whether it was appropriate for HSE to investigate the death of Gillian Astbury at Stafford Hospital in 2007.

As your report says, we have now concluded an investigation and decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings in this case.

The Department of Health is leading on the recommendations put forward by Robert Francis. We remain in discussions with the Department and the Care Quality Commission on taking forward the Government proposal for a system of referrals to HSE from the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, in cases where there is a potential breach of health and safety requirements.

Kevin Myers
Acting Chief Executive