Bedrail safety failure
North West NHS Foundation Trust has been fined over its unsuitable management of the use of bedrails at its hospitals, resulting in bedrail safety failure. Following a guilty plea in Carlisle Magistrates’ the case was referred to Carlisle Crown Court for sentencing where it was prosecuted for breaching Section 3 (1) HSWA 1974. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,465.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust failed to ensure that they managed the risk of bedrails, which is an important component of patient safety for which guidance on risk, management and policies existed.
HSE visited the Trust in February 2012 identifying issues with bedrail management, and a second visit in May 2012 resulted in the service of an Improvement Notice (IN) on bedrail safety failure and a letter with recommendations.
The Trust acknowledged the improvement and decided upon actions to improve bedrail safety management, however failed to implement them. When the Trust was inspected in July 2013, inappropriate bedrails were found to still be in use and management systems were not appropriate to manage the risk. Another improvement notice on identification and maintenance of third-party bedrails was served.
The Court heard the Trust had a policy on bedrail management but did not have the systems or procedures to underpin the implementation of the policy, and as a result there was bedrail safety failure.
Elements of the failure were:
• Lack of a system to identify and inspect third-party bedrails
• Lack of planned preventative maintenance on manual beds and bedrails
• Absence of an effective system to rectify faults with inappropriate bedrails
• Absence of provision of appropriate training, and a lack of procedures to audit and monitor the effectiveness of the bedrail management system.
Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, that has its headquarters at Westmorland General Hospital, Burton Road, Kendal, Cumbria, admitted breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £18,465.
This recent case highlights the importance of having procedures and systems of work to support the company policy. It also highlights that where an improvement notice is issued for a breach in legislation that any recommendations should be carried out to satisfy and comply with the law. As experts in health and safety, we can help you so that you’re never put in this situation of the worry of legal action from the HSE. We can make sure you’re compliant with the law. We can also help if you do find you are in a situation where you need help if you are already in this situation. Why not call us for a free and no-obligation discussion.