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Hospital fined £50k following patient death

The Health and Safety Executive said an 89-year-old man died after hospital staff left him with only one rail on his bed to prevent him from falling out.

Francis Steele died two weeks after falling from his bed at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital in November 2007. Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was fined £50,000 after admitting to health and safety breaches which led to the incident.

Readers' comments (4)

  • This scares me as we can never get enough siderails for those who need them. We cannot stay with confused patients either. Scary.

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  • sorry, do people still not realise that these are still a form of restraint and not a means to stop people falling out of bed or to stop confused people getting out of bed. \each person has to be risk assessed for these to be insituation and if a patient can make the choice to have them then they can have them up. They are not safe. and patients can climb over the top when confused and cause more damage to themslves. I am sorry that the poor man died but was their a reason that he actually needed them. Nobody has the staff to stay with confused patients so what about tagging and intentional rounding, good methods of trying to understand why someone is trying to get out of bed. they are NOT a safety mechanism they are a risky peice of equipment on the ward if nobody knows how it should be used.

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  • Your previous correspondant is entirely incorrect in stating that bed rails are a form of restraint. They are not. Restraint is an act of preventing a person from doing something they want to (e.g leaving the ward). Bed rails help the patient not to do something to don't want to (fall out of bed). Thay also say that bed rails are not meant to stop people falling out of bed:this is their ONLY function. The National Patient Safety Agency has long ago stated that people hurt themselves more falling out of bed without rails than patients climbing over rails and falling

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  • "...each person has to be risk assessed"

    does this include the staff?

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