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HSE prosecutes Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

29 August 2013

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to prosecute Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over the death of Gillian Astbury, it announced today.

Peter Galsworthy, HSE Head of Operations in the West Midlands, said:

"We have concluded our investigation into the death of Gillian Astbury at Stafford Hospital and have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings in this case.

"HSE will be charging Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

"Gillian Astbury died on 11 April 2007, of diabetic ketoacidosis, when she was an in-patient at the hospital. The immediate cause of death was the failure to administer insulin to a known diabetic patient.

"Our case alleges that the Trust failed to devise, implement or properly manage structured and effective systems of communication for sharing patient information, including in relation to shift handovers and record-keeping."

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is due to appear before Stafford Magistrates’ Court on 9 October 2013 for the first hearing in this case.

Notes to editors

  1. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that every employer has a duty to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected by the conduct of his undertaking are not as a result exposed to risks to their health and safety.
  2. You are advised to check the time and date of the hearing with the Court nearer the time to ensure that the case has not been put back.
  3. Your attention is drawn to the fact that, as criminal proceedings have commenced, the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act apply. You will understand that HSE is not able to offer further comment at this time.

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