An NHS Foundation Trust has been fined for safety failings in its management following the death of a patient after untrained staff failed to use and adequately maintain the Anetic Aid QA3 trolleys that transport patients around the hospital grounds.
Following the incident that took place in March 2011, an investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to look further into the incident and why it took place. The elderly patient, who was taken to Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, suffered a broken neck and a cut to his head as a result of falling from the QA3 trolley. Subsequently, the patient died 26 days later.
Once the investigation had concluded, a judge at Reading Crown Court heard that although HSE did not conclude that this incident was a direct result of the hospital’s failings, investigators found that there was a lack of maintenance to the QA3 trolley and also a lack of training from staff in an essential aspect of its use. As a result, this unfortunate incident took place.
It is essential for NHS hospitals to provide adequate maintenance of equipment to keep both patients and staff safe. If the management of the hospital had a more comprehensive and transparent system for providing servicing and maintenance of QA3 trolleys, then it would have picked up the issues when they received Compliance Testing. For the effective maintenance and use of the equipment, efficient and coherent training needs to be implemented for staff appropriately.
As a result of these failings, Royal Berkshire NHS Trust of Craven Road, Reading, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was subsequently fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £76,305.62. The investigation also ensured that every NHS hospital would provide appropriate levels of equipment training to the staff working within them.
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