Royal Bournemouth Hospital Trust penalised for giving the wrong drug dosage to a cancer patient


A hospital which gave a leukaemia patient five times the amount of drugs that she needed has today (Monday 9 December) been fined £45,000.

An 80-year-old leukaemia patient who was terminally ill was taking part in a clinical trial at the hospital for a new form of cancer treatment.

She was prescribed a low dose of the trial drug for ten days, but instead was given five times the amount she should have received in just four days.

The patient was admitted to hospital on 4 January 2018 and, sadly, died less than two weeks later.

Andy Young of the CPS said: “This was an innovative treatment but in this case a serious error was made by the hospital when it was dispensing the medicine.”

Investigation by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency found a number of issues with how the unit was operating, which had led to the error.

There was confusion between the low and high doses of the drug, which resulted in the patient being given a much higher dose than prescribed on two occasions. In each instance the quality control system failed.

Building the case

The Prosecution discovered that a flawed method of storing medicine had already caused a mistake in 2013.

Every step of the patient’s treatment was recorded and revealed the incorrect dosage had not been picked up. When the staff member questioned storage of the medication, it was immediately investigated and the issue discovered.

The CPS built their case around the investigation carried out by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, who had identified that staff working in the unit were beyond capacity.

Inspections by the NHS in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017 all found that the unit was running over-capacity and highlighted it as an issue that urgently needed addressing to prevent any mistakes being made.

As a result, on Friday 16 August 2019, the Royal Bournemouth Hospital Trust pleaded guilty to supplying a medicinal product which was not of the nature or quality demanded and the Trust has today been fined £45,000 at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Andy Young continued: “The Royal Bournemouth Hospital Trust had plenty of chances to fix the problems within the unit, but failed to do so.”

Notes to editors

  • Andy Young is a Senior Specialist Prosecutor in the Specialist Fraud Division
  • The CPS Speciaist Fraud Division prosecutes cases investigated by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

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