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Guilty Plea for Healthcare Provider’s Breach of Health and Safety Law - Alison McAteer, Brodies

08/03/19. The tragic case involving a healthcare company charged with breaching health & safety legislation after the death of a young patient in its care, may have been the “first prosecution of its kind”.

Most health & safety prosecutions involve injured workers – usually employees - but this case serves as a reminder that an organisation’s duties under health & safety law extend to others that may be affected by their actions.


In August 2012, 14-year-old Amy El-Keria was admitted to Ticehurst House, a Priory hospital in East Sussex, as an urgent referral from an NHS Trust. She had complicated healthcare needs and a history of attempts of self-strangulation. On admission, Amy was assessed as “high-risk” and placed on observation every 15 minutes.

The inquest into Amy’s death noted that over the next three months, Amy was restrained and sedated at times, and that on 12 November 2012 Amy told staff she wanted to commit suicide. Her monitoring schedule remained at 15 minute intervals, and she was otherwise allowed to remain unsupervised. Later that day, she was found unresponsive in her room. She had used a football scarf to hang herself...

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