Kent

Oxleas health trust fined over nurse stabbings

Bracton Centre sign
Image caption Two members of staff were seriously injured at the Bracton Centre

A health trust has been fined £300,000 after two nurses were repeatedly stabbed by a patient at a mental health centre in Kent.

Myha Grant was handed a 19-year prison sentence for the attack at the Bracton Centre near Dartford on 17 July 2016.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure health and safety in June.

The Old Bailey heard it was "astonishing" nobody had been killed.

The court was told Grant, who has schizoaffective disorder and antisocial personality disorder, had a history of violence. He was admitted to Bracton two days before the stabbings.

During the attack he forced his way into a kitchen on a ward and stabbed healthcare assistant Francis Barrett repeatedly in the chest and stomach.

Nurse Julius Falomo was also stabbed 17 times while another staff member found herself trapped as Grant set light to newspapers, clothes and bedding.

He was eventually apprehended by armed police.

'Ad hoc and inadequate'

The trust, which serves three south London boroughs and Kent, was said to be aware that mentally unwell patients held in medium secure conditions could be violent.

Mitigating, Dominic Kay QC said the case was a "matter of complete and utter regret for those concerned" but the failing did not arise from a desire to "cut corners or put savings before safety".

Sentencing the trust to pay a fine of £300,000 plus £28,000 costs to the Health and Safety Executive, Mr Justice Edis QC said the injuries suffered by the victims "will be with them for life".

He criticised procedures that were meant to ensure all knives were locked up and out of reach of patients as "ad hoc and inadequate".

An initial fine of £1.5m was reduced as it would "penalise those who depend on the services provided by the trust," the judge said.

In a statement, the trust said the safety of its staff and patients was its absolute priority and safety measures at the Bracton Centre had been enhanced since the incident.

Chief executive Matthew Trainer said changes made as a result of its investigation included introducing new search policies, and improving the way it managed patients at risk of violence and risk assessments.

He added that a safety and security manager had also been recruited for the centre.

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