NHS trust fined £1m following 53-year-old man’s death in Lincolnshire

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined following the death of 53-year-old John Biggadike at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that Mr Biggadike, who was a patient at the hospital, died on 10 April 2012 from internal injuries after falling onto an exposed metal post on the standing aid hoist that staff were using to support him. The kneepad on the standing aid hoist had been incorrectly removed leaving the exposed metal post that caused the fatal injuries when he collapsed after standing up.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the Trust did not have systems for training and monitoring how staff used the standing aid hoist and unsafe practices had developed.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, of Trust Headquarters, Lincoln County Hospital, Greetwell Road, Lincoln, was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £1 million and ordered to repay £160,000 in costs. The trust has also been ordered to pay £3800 to Mr Biggadike’s family to cover the costs of the funeral.

In his statement John Biggadike’s brother Keith said:

“John didn’t deserve to die the way that he did. One day I had a brother and the next I didn’t.“

Harvey Wild, Operations Manager for the HSE said:

“First of all, our thoughts remain with John Biggadike’s family. This was a tragic and preventable death. “If staff had received effective training and monitoring in the use of the standing aid hoist Mr Biggadike’s death could have been avoided.”

Phoenix comments:

John Biggadike, 53, suffered ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries after falling onto the protruding metal post. The fatal incident happened during a break in Mr Biggadike’s physiotherapy to allow him to use a commode. After using the commode, a knee support on the hoist was removed and Mr Biggadike fell as he was being helped up. Prosecuting Adam Farrer told the jury that the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was to blame, because staff hadn’t been trained to use the hoist properly and should have been supervised. ‘The prosecution does not blame individuals,’ he said. ‘The prosecution say the Trust failed to train them properly and point out the obvious risks. Essentially the case is that the Trust failed to train its staff how to use the hoist properly.’ Every year, there are numerous accidents to employees, carers, and service users from using work equipment in health and social care. Many are serious and some are fatal. Using the right, well-maintained equipment operated by trained staff can help prevent accidents and reduce the personal and financial costs. The HSE provide guidance on Getting to grips with hoisting people - Health Services Information Sheet No. 3 which can be found on: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsis3.pdf