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26.03.18

Southern Health fined £2m following ‘entirely preventable’ patient deaths

Southern Health NHS FT has been fined £2m by the Health and Safety Executive following the death of two of its patients.

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, died in the trust’s care in 2013, while a separate patient, Teresa Colvin died at a mental health facility in Hampshire in 2012.

The prosecuting lawyer Mr Justice Stuart-Smith described both deaths as an “unnecessary human tragedy.”

The fine handed out has been split in two, with the trust paying £950,000 for Colvin’s death and over £1m for Sparrowhawk’s.

The judge presiding over the case also said that this penalty was “a just and proportionate outcome that marks the seriousness of the trust's offending, the terrible consequences of that offending, and the other material factors that I have indicated.”

In a statement, Dr Nick Broughton, CEO of Southern Health fully accepted the trust’s failings, and said the deaths were “entirely preventable.”

“Since I joined the trust in November I have looked closely at what happened to Teresa and Connor and the events that followed,” he explained. “I feel deeply saddened and am truly sorry that we let them down with such devastating consequences.

“Their deaths were avoidable, entirely preventable and should never have occurred.

“I know that words can do little to ease the enormity of the respective families' losses and pain. But Teresa and Connor’s deaths have been genuine catalysts for change, and I sincerely hope our actions to improve care as a direct result provide some comfort, however small.”

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