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HSE clears hospital hit by outbreak

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A hospital which suffered outbreaks of Clostridium difficile will not face criminal charges, a watchdog has said.

Some 334 patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury were infected with the pathogen between October 2003 and June 2005, and around 33 died.

But the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found insufficient admissible evidence to start proceedings against trust managers.

A report by the Healthcare Commission in July last year found “serious and significant” failings in the way senior managers responded to the crisis.

But despite finding problems over the keeping of paperwork, the HSE said this was a minor transgression, and it is not in the public interest to bring legal action against the trust.

Sandra Caldwell, director of field operations at the HSE, said: “In view of the Healthcare Commission’s report there was a possibility that serious criminal offences may have occurred.”

But the HSE found insufficient evidence of any link between individuals from the trust and the death of any of the patients.

In addition there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the trust as a whole.

Mrs Caldwell added that at the time of the HSE investigation last December, systems had improved since the outbreak.

She said: “We found that infection control procedures are to a sufficient standard.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Health and Safety Executive



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