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CQC prosecutes Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after patient dies in its care

17 June 2019
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Media

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £200,000 by Brighton Magistrates’ Court after the trust admitted that it had failed to provide safe care and treatment to Jamie Osborne, a patient who was in their care.

The Care Quality Commission brought the prosecution following the death of Jamie Osborne who at the time was on remand at HMP Lewes. Jamie died whilst receiving care on the Healthcare Unit at HMP Lewes which is managed by Sussex Partnership in circumstances which CQC believed were avoidable. 

On 12 February 2016, Jamie took his own life using a bed sheet as a ligature tied to the sink taps in cell. The staff knew that Jamie was a suicide risk and that the tap was a potential anchor point for a ligature. 

In February the trust pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to a patient. Sentencing had been adjourned until today.

The court was told that Sussex Partnership had failed to provide care that was equivalent to that of in the community. The trust failed to address a clear and well-documented risk to Jamie’s safety, or to ensure that staff knew how to manage this risk. The consequences for this vulnerable young man could not have been more serious. 

The trust was fined £200,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment and putting patient at risk of avoidable harm. It was also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £25,000 and a £170 victim surcharge.

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and lead for mental health), said:

“In these circumstances, we had no choice but to prosecute the trust. I hope this case will serve as a warning to other providers to ensure that they are taking all necessary steps to care appropriately for people who require close observation and careful management of the risks posed by the physical environment, managed by the prison, in which they are being cared for..  I hope that it also sends a clear message that people in prison have the same right to high quality mental healthcare as any other member of our society.”


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Last updated:
17 June 2019

Notes to editors


About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.