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Mid Staffs NHS Sentenced for Failings after Patient Dies

Mid Staffs NHS Sentenced for Failings after Patient Dies

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will be sentenced later today over failings that led to a diabetic patient's death in April 2007.

The NHS Trust that runs Stafford Hospital will be sentenced over the death of Gillian Astbury, 66, who died at the hospital in April 2007.

Executives at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to failings in their care of the diabetic woman in October 2013, but sentencing was postponed until now.

Although the Magistrates Court that originally heard the case could have issued an immediate fine, the most it has the power to sanction is £200,000 and it was decided this would not be sufficient given the importance of the case.

Ms Astbury died after two nurses failed to give her insulin, even though it should have been obvious that with her records she should have regularly had her glucose levels checked by staff.

While initial assessments were correctly carried out on the woman, who was originally admitted with a suspected fractured arm and pelvis that she sustained in a fall, failures in the way she was handed over meant relevant information had not been passed on.

Other failings included the incompletion of a fluid monitoring chart and poor record-keeping in regards to the food she was eating, which was not suitable for someone with type 1 diabetes.

The 66-year-old's case is one of many examples of failure by the Stafford Hospital, which was described as having "no effective management, oversight and control" by prosecutors.

In separate hearings last year it was found that nurses Ann King and Jeannette Coulson did not do enough to help Ms Astbury. Ms King was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Ms Coulson was cautioned and told to improve her care.

There have been questions raised by prosecutors about how the hospital Trust will be able to afford the fine, as it currently operates a deficit of £11 million and went into administration last year after a bailout agreement failed to emerge.

A spokesperson for Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the poor quality of care Ms Astbury received.

By Chris Stevenson