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A  national healthcare provider has been fined £100,000 after an elderly patient died at a private hospital in High Wycombe.

The  Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted BMI Healthcare Limited for safety  failings that led to the death of Michael Walsh, 85, from Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire.

Amersham  Crown Court heard today (18 July) that Mr Walsh was admitted to Shelburne  Hospital, on Queen Alexandra Road, on 10 February 2009 for an operation. He had  a private room on the first floor which had a pair of sliding patio style doors  leading onto a small balcony.

Three  days after the operation Mr Walsh had begun to suffer with periods of confusion  and disorientation. The following evening he was found outside on the ground  beneath the balcony. He had fallen three-and-a-half metres and had suffered  injuries including a fractured vertebra. He was taken to Wexham Park   Hospital where he died  two days later.

The  HSE investigation found that the hospital had not assessed the risks of  patients falling from balconies in private rooms, or, taken adequate measures  to control this risk.

BMI  Healthcare Limited, of Thameside Centre, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, Hounslow, London, pleaded guilty to breaching  Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In addition to the £100,000 fine, the company was also ordered to pay  costs of £29,447.


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