Health board fined after nurse attacked by patient
Lothian Health Board has been fined £32,000 after admitting to safety failings that led to a nurse being attacked while making a home visit to a patient with mental health issues.
The experienced 55-year-old community psychiatric nurse was visiting a 58-year-old female patient in the East Lothian area who had been suffering from mental illnesses for more than 30 years when the attack happened.
The nurse was forced to the floor, threatened and had her hair pulled so violently that several clumps were ripped out.
Since the incident in March 2009 she has been apprehensive about undertaking home visits and has experienced flashbacks, Haddington Sheriff Court was told.
The case was brought after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were no risk assessments in place for community health workers dealing with violence or aggression, or for working alone in clients’ homes.
NHS Lothian also failed to provide adequate training and supervision for this type of work, and failed to provide a safe system of working for home visits to psychiatric patients.
The court heard that it took eight months for the incident to be reported to the HSE, despite the law stipulating that such serious events must be reported within 10 days of them taking place.
Lothian Health Board pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and of Regulation 3 of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
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