A criminal investigation has begun into the death of a diabetic woman at scandal-hit Mid Staffs hospital
HSE launches investigation into Gillian Astbury’s 2007 death after she slipped into diabetic coma in scandal-hit hospital
A criminal investigation has begun into the death of a diabetic woman at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.
Gillian Astbury died after slipping into a diabetic coma at the hospital in 2007. An inquest in 2010 found that the failure to administer insulin to the 66-year-old patient amounted to a gross failure to provide basic care.
The HSE said the decision to pursue the investigation into Astbury’s death was deferred until the conclusion of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which found as many as 1,200 patients needlessly died between 2005 and 2009 due to “appalling” failures of care.
A report by the chairman Robert Francis QC, published in February, highlighted “appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people” at the trust. The HSE confirmed their inspectors formally began an investigation on Thursday.
“Our focus will be on establishing whether there is evidence of the employer (the trust) or individuals failing to comply with their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act.”
Astbury, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, died on 11 April 2007 while being treated for fractures to her arm and pelvis.
Jurors at the September 2010 inquest found that a contributory factor in her death was a systemic failure to provide adequate nursing facilities and low staffing levels.
The inquest heard that Astbury’s blood sugar levels were not properly monitored and insulin was not administered on the day before her death, despite being prescribed by doctors.
A police investigation was launched after her death, but the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.
The director of quality and patient experience at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Julie Hendry, pledge to co-operate with the HSE investigation and apologised for the “appalling care” Astbury received.