Mental Health

07.03.19

Sussex trust faces ‘unlimited fine’ after failing in care of suicidal teenager

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care to a 19-year-old who died under its supervision, and could now face an unprecedented fine following a criminal conviction brought against the trust by the CQC.

The trust was prosecuted by the health inspectorate for its failings over the care of Jamie Osborne, and was summoned to Brighton Magistrates Court for failing to comply with the regulations of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

District judge Tessa Szagun said the trust faced an ‘unlimited fine’ and requested to see details of its accounts before she passed sentence, adjourning the case until 2 May.

Outside the hearing, Bena Brown, prosecuting for the CQC, said: “The healthcare provided to Mr Osborne should have been that which he could have received in the community. Our case is that it fell far below that standard.”

Osborne killed himself on the hospital wing of Lewes Prison, which is run by the Sussex trust, on 12 February 2016, just three months after a similar attempt had forced prison staff to resuscitate him.

Brown said the trust’s key failings included not assessing the area he was staying in for danger points, and for failing to manage his risk of suicide and to transfer him to a hospital.

On Tuesday, the CQC revealed it was prosecuting the trust over the death of the patient, and Sussex Partnership NHS FT has now pleaded guilty to failing to fulfil its duties to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm, or a significant risk of exposure to avoidable harm.

Sussex Partnership NHS FT has also apologised for the treatment provided to the 19-year-old, but this is one of several cases to have hit the trust.

In 2016, it was criticised over the deaths of 10 patients, and last year it had to apologise for failings which led to the death of Brighton University student Janet Muller.

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