Hospital disappointed at coroner criticism at Ockendon man’s death

A CORONER is compiling a list of recommended improvements at Basildon Hospital, after an inquest ruled a patient died because of serious failings.

Hospital bosses have been given a fortnight to come up with ways to stamp out Legionnaires’ disease, in the wake of the death of a patient who contracted the disease there reports a newspaper.

Raymond Cackett, 54, from South Ockendon, died of the lung condition in March last year after being admitted to the hospital.

A jury at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court last week recorded a narrative verdict, which raised concerns over Mr Cackett’s care.

The jury ruled the hospital had failed to do enough to control the legionella bug.

Jurors also ruled the death there, in June 2007, of Billericay man James Compton, 74, was caused by bacterial infection by C-difficile, with legionella as a contributory factor only.

Commenting on the verdict at a board meeting yesterday. hospital chief executive, Alan Whittle said: “This is disappointing from the hospital’s point of view.

“The jury found control arrangements for legionella at that time had serious failings.

“That was disappointing because the whole focus of the evidence to the inquest, which ran over a three-week period, was that the arrangements for control had changed considerably and improved over the period between the two deaths.”

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the legionella bug, which can thrive in water systems.

The hospital has spent more than £2 million on maintenance of its water systems since 2002.

Hospital officials are now putting together legal submissions on the outcome of the inquest to the coroner, who will then make recommendations on the further action the hospital needs to take to ensure patients never again suffer a similar fate.

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