University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust fined £216,664.88 after patient's death

An NHS trust has been fined more than £200,000 after failing to look after a dementia patient who fell, hitting his head, and later died.

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust has been ordered to pay a total of £216,664.88 after pleading guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to a patient.

The patient - Peter Mullis - was admitted to Queens Hospital Burton emergency department. He was followed by staff after walking out of the hospital A&E department three times.

Despite being followed he was able to climb over a barrier and fall down a grass bank hitting his head on concrete at the bottom.

He was airlifted to the local trauma centre and died of multiple traumatic injuries. The NHS trust admits causing the patient avoidable harm, after a sentencing hearing on Monday at Derby Magistrates' Court.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), who brought this prosecution in July 2019, found that University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust did not take all reasonable steps to ensure that safe care and treatment was provided and that this failure exposed Peter to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

The trust pleaded guilty to the offence of failure to provide safe care and treatment to Peter, for which the trust was fined £200,000.

The court also ordered the trust to pay £181 victim surcharge and £16,483.88 costs to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which brought this prosecution.

The size of the fine is a decision made by the court and is informed by sentencing guidelines. CQC does not have influence over this decision.Lorraine Tedeschini, CQC’s director of operations in the midlands, said: "This is a tragic case and my thoughts are with Peter’s family and others grieving for his loss following his death.

"People have the right to safe care and treatment, so it’s unacceptable that his safety was not well managed by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

"We know that the majority of people receive good care when they attend hospital, but if we find a provider has put people in its care at risk of harm, we take action to hold it to account and protect people in future.

"I hope this prosecution reminds health and social care organisations they must provide care in a safe environment that meets the needs of patients, so they receive the safe care and treatment they deserve."

Garry Marsh, Executive Chief Nurse for University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We remain incredibly sorry for what happened to Mr Mullis, and our sincere condolences continue to be with his family.

"Mr Mullis was supervised during his time in our care, but it is clear that improvements were needed to how some of our policies, there to keep people like Mr Mullis safe, were put into practice and we fully accept the CQC's findings.

"Since this sad incident in 2019 we have created a dedicated Mental Capacity Act education team to better support and train our staff, and introduced a new auditing process to track compliance against best practice.

"We remain absolutely committed to improving further to ensure that we provide the safest care and treatment to all patients in our care."