NHS trust fined after mental health nurse killed by patient says it's
done everything to prevent a tragedy re-occuring
NHS trust fined £28,000 for a series of systematic failures
which led to a mental health nurse being battered to death by a
patient, has said it has since done everthing possible to prevent
such a death happening again.
As well as the fine, South West London and St George's Mental Health
NHS Trust was ordered to pay £14,000 costs, after the trust
admitted neglect which contributed to the death of Eshan Chattun.
34-year-old nurse was beaten to death in June 2003 while working
at Springfield hospital in south London, reported societyguardian.co.uk
Fisher, chief executive of the trust, said in a statement after
the hearing on May 6 at the Old Bailey in London that it was "deeply
sorry for the death of our colleague, Eshan Chattun".
was an exceptional incident. I believe we have done all we reasonably
can to stop such an event ever happening again."
reported that the prosecution had said the tragedy was "waiting
to happen" and the judge called the trust's practices "seriously
unacceptable and incompetent". It was the first time an NHS
body had been indicted at such a high level.
website reported that Mr Chattun was supervising Jason Cann, 22,
who had been admitted that day under the Mental Health Act and was
Mr Chattun was alone with no walkie-talkie or personal alarm, and
was not properly trained in restraint techniques. His ear was bitten
off and he later died from his injuries. Cann was convicted of manslaughter
and ordered to be detained indefinitely at Broadmoor.
Health and Safety Executive brought the case against the trust under
section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. This stipulates
that every employer has a duty "to ensure, so far as is reasonably
practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all his employees".
reported that the court heard the trust had not put in place measures
that could have saved Mr Chattun's life. There was no telephone
in the lobby area and, although there was one in the office, when
Mr Chattun went into the lobby where Cann was held, his only communication
would have been his mobile phone. This was later found on the floor
near his body.
court also heard that Mr Chattun had not received sufficient training
in handling violent patients. Nor was he issued with a personal
McCaul QC, for the trust, paid tribute to Mr Chattun and said "every
possible - as opposed to every reasonable - step" had been
taken since Mr Chattun's death to ensure such an incident did not
happen again, at a cost of £2m.
judge said he had to consider that, while a large fine might be
appropriate for a profitable organisation, the NHS needed funds
and a substantial fine would "result in a reduction of healthcare
or further injection of taxpayers' money in this case. Such a fine
would be entirely circular, travelling from the trust to the Exchequer
and back again."
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