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NHS trust faces prosecution over teenager's death

Health and Safety Executive set to prosecute over death of Connor Sparrowhawk

Mark Gould

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

An NHS trust is to be prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over the drowning of an 18-year-old patient at one of its facilities.

Connor Sparrowhawk suffered an epileptic fit while in a bath at Slade House in Oxford in July 2013. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust eventually admitted responsibility and offered his family compensation.

The HSE said today it was prosecuting the trust "under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following its investigation into the death of a patient under its care". It would not comment on the potential penalties for a successful prosecution in this case but options under the act include unlimited fines or possible custodial sentence.

Southern Health provides mental health services to patients across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It is also facing a separate prosecution over alleged failings at Melbury Lodge, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, where a patient sustained serious injuries during a fall from a low roof.

In October 2015, an inquest jury found that "failings" by trust staff contributed to Mr Sparrowhawk's death. In December that year, a leaked report revealed failures of leadership at the trust. Slade House closed in 2014 and the building is being transferred to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

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