Health chiefs admit failings after epileptic teenager drowned in bath


An NHS trust has said it is "truly sorry" about the death of an epileptic teenager who drowned in a bath while in its care, after it admitted failings that led to his death.

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, who had learning difficulties, was found submerged in water at Slade House, an NHS care and assessment unit in Oxford, in July 2013.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which ran the unit, pleaded guilty at Banbury Magistrates' Court to breaching health and safety law, the Health and Safety Executive said.

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The trust will be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on October 12.

In a statement issued after the hearing, Julie Dawes, interim chief executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: "Connor's death whilst under our care was entirely preventable and today we have pleaded guilty to the charges brought against the trust by the HSE.

"Connor's loss continues to have a devastating impact on his family and we are truly sorry that we didn't keep him safe.

"The effect of Connor's death has been far reaching and whilst it in no way compensates for the loss his family has suffered, it has led to significant changes and improvements in the trust.

"There have been times when our actions unintentionally added to the distress of Connor's family.

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"However as a result of the changes we have made, we hope that all families and service users will now experience a more compassionate approach from Southern Health.

"Connor is a constant reminder why we must continue to do everything we can to improve the quality and safety of our services."

The trust pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

A spokesman for HSE, which brought the prosecution, said: "HSE acknowledges the defendant's guilty plea but will not make a further comment until after sentencing."