Officials at Basildon University Hospital in Essex have pleaded guilty to health and safety failings that led to the death of a patient with severe learning disabilities.
Quadriplegic Kyle Flack, 20, died from asphyxiation at the hospital in October 2006 after his head became trapped between the bars of his hospital bed.
A jury at an inquest last July ruled that neglect had contributed to his death.
The prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive in January who accused the trust of failing to ensure patients safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Hospital officials entered their guilty plea at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Sentencing will be delivered at Basildon Crown Court on 15 March.
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust director of nursing Maggie Rogers said: “Firstly, I repeat our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Kyle Flack. I can reassure our patients that since his tragic death in 2006, we have taken action that includes improving the management of equipment and the care of our patients with special needs.”
“Parts of the NHS are trying hard but we want to see all commit to ensuring people with a learning disability receive the best possible healthcare. We want the sentence to send a very powerful and clear message to all health professionals that indifference to people with a learning disability must stop now,” he said.
Last year the Care Quality Commission asked foundation trust regulator Monitor to intervene at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust after a CQC inspection found unusually high death rates at the trust and filthy conditions, including blood-spattered curtains and chairs and soiled mattresses.