The trust which runs Stafford Hospital is to be prosecuted over a patient who died after entering a diabetic coma – but individual nurses will face no legal action.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said there was enough evidence to bring criminal proceedings against Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over the death of 66-year-old Gillian Astbury in 2007 at Stafford.
However, they say they will pursue no further action against nurses who were found guilty of misconduct over Ms Astbury’s treatment by the Nursing and Midwifery Council last month.
It follows an investigation launched earlier this year by the HSE into Ms Astbury’s death following the conclusion of the Francis Inquiry into events at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2009.
An inquest into Ms Astbury’s death recorded a narrative verdict but found a failure to administer insulin amounted to a gross failure to provide basic care.
Peter Galsworthy, HSE head of operations in the West Midlands, said: “Our case alleges that the trust failed to devise, implement or properly manage structured and effective systems of communication for sharing patient information, including in relation to shift handovers and record-keeping.”
The HSE will be charging the trust under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The first hearing will be held at Stafford Magistrates Court on October 9.
Last month, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found senior staff nurse Ann King and ward manager Jeannette Coulson guilty of misconduct for failing to spot Ms Astbury was diabetic. But it was announced yesterday the pair will not face criminal charges.
Ms Astbury, from Hednesford, died on April 11, 2007 of diabetic ketoacidosis when she was an inpatient at the hospital. She was denied insulin for 48 hours and fell into a coma, the Nursing and Midwifery Council panel heard.
Trust chief executive Maggie Oldham said: “We accept the findings of the Health and Safety Executive’s investigation. We apologise for the appalling care Ms Astbury received at our hospital in April 2007.
“Ms Astbury’s death was reported as a serious untoward incident at the time and a full investigation into her care and treatment was carried out.
“The recommendations from that investigation were implemented."