Inquest likely after death of Ipswich woman following fall at Serco run care home

  • Posted

Posted 23/01/2014

Benjamin Ward 1340722262_BenWardPX.jpg

An inquest is likely to be held into the death of an Ipswich woman following a fall at a care home run by under-fire health company Serco.

It was reported in December that Joy Saunders, aged 76, suffered a serious fall whilst a patient in Bluebird Lodge community hospital in Ipswich.

David Saunders, Joy’s husband, had specifically asked that staff should be aware of the danger that she might fall out of bed, but she was allowed to do so only two hours after he left Joy on the first evening of her admission. In spite of Mrs Saunders being heavily bruised, staff didn’t realize she had been hurt.

Mrs Saunders had suffered a major brain haemorrhage as a result of her fall and it was recognized that she was in a terminal phase. Sadly, she died over the Christmas period.

Bluebird Lodge is run by a private company, Serco, as part of the privatization of NHS services. They have been heavily criticized in the past on several occasions for their performance in fulfilling their NHS contracts. Only a month after securing the contract they made 65 staff redundant, most of them nurses.

Joy’s husband, David Saunders, has made clear he intends to contest the manner of his wife’s death through the courts. His lawyer is medical negligence specialist Ben Ward of Ashtons Legal.

“The clinical commissioning groups which awarded Serco the contract have already set out a list of the areas in which Serco were failing,” Ben Ward explains. “One of those areas was concerns was over a repeated failure to record falls assessments for vulnerable patients, exactly the circumstances which applied to Joy Saunders.”

“Then last week, a scathing report by Suffolk health leaders criticized Serco for delays in providing equipment for patients. They demanded that issues should be urgently addressed and claimed that if anything the service was deteriorating further.”

“Now, given the circumstances of the death of Mrs Saunders, we’re told that the Ipswich coroner is likely to call for an inquest.”

If the inquest goes ahead it is likely to be held at some time during the spring.


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