NHS Foundation Trust fined £200,000 for safety failings

An NHS Foundation Trust has been fined for safety failings in its management of the use and maintenance of Anetic Aid QA3 trolleys.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) followed an incident that happened when a patient at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, 90-year-old Major James Fyfe, suffered a broken neck and a cut to his head as a result of a fall from a QA3 trolley. He died 26 days later.

Reading Crown Court heard that although HSE did not conclude that in this case Mr Fyfe’s incident was caused by the hospital’s failings, the investigation found that there was a lack of maintenance to the QA3 trolley and a lack of training in an essential aspect of its use.

Maintenance of equipment is an essential part of keeping both patients and staff safe. If the organisation had had a comprehensive system for servicing and maintenance of QA3 trolleys, then it would have picked up the issues surrounding maintenance. For the effective maintenance of equipment and the use of that equipment, suitable training needs to be implemented appropriately.

An HSE Inspector said:

“This incident could have been prevented. It is especially important in large organisations that they have effective systems in place to control risks and to check that the systems are working.”

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust of Craven Road, Reading, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £76,305.62