Disabled teenager who drowned in bath was 'failed by the NHS'

Connor Sparrowhawk died after having an epileptic seizure in the bath Credit: JusticeforLB/PA Wire

A disabled teenager who died in the bath was "failed by the NHS", an inquest has found.

Connor, who had autism and epilepsy, was found unresponsive and under the water in a bath at Slade House, a short term assessment and treatment unit run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, following what the jury described as a "string of serious failings" in his treatment.

According to an inquest jury's findings 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk's death on July 4, 2013, was "contributed to by neglect" during his time at an NHS facility in Oxfordshire.

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn has the full report:

According to the findings of the jury failings at Slade house included:

  • a lack of clinical leadership

  • inadequate staff training

  • poor communication with Connor's family about his needs

  • no risk assessment plan for Connor's epilepsy

  • errors in relation to Connor's bathing arrangements

Connor's mother Dr Sara Ryan said hearing about the treatment her "beautiful boy" had received at Slade House had been a "harrowing" experience and one which highlighted the need for more awareness about how to treat people with disabilities.

The Trust, who closed the unit where Connor was treated on March 19, 2013, admitted the teenager's death was preventable and apologised "unreservedly" to his family.

Health Minister Alistair Burt has described the details surrounding Connor's death as "deeply distressing" and said the NHS must learn all it can from the tragedy as "there can be no compromise on the safety of those being looked after by the state".