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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust pleads guilty following HSE prosecution

20 November 2017

Before Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust today pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. This follows the death of 45-year-old Teresa Colvin at Woodhaven Adult Mental Health Hospital, Southampton on 22 April 2012.

This prosecution has been brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

No sentencing date has been set, however a hearing has been arranged at Oxford Crown Court for Monday 27 November 2017.

A HSE spokesperson said: “HSE acknowledges the defendant’s guilty plea but will not make a further comment until after sentencing.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
2. The HSE has a legal duty to make inquiries about all allegations or complaints made to it, initially to determine whether there are grounds to formally investigate possible breaches of health and safety regulations.
3. Until 1 April 2015, allegations of unsafe working practices at medical establishments, unrelated to clinical matters, could be referred to HSE. After this date, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) became the lead regulator, including investigating potential breaches of health and safety regulations.
4. Since 1 April 2015, this HSE investigation was conducted as a historic inquiry, as the HSE was the responsible regulator at the time these offences were committed.
5. Further information about how the HSE decides on whether to launch a formal investigation can be found at and
6. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer 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 thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.” Further information about the legislation applied in this case can be found at

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