The son of a retired policeman from Newtown who died amid failings in care in hospital has said it is "incomprehensible" that the trust was permitted to "self-police" the incident.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust was earlier fined £1.3 million for failings in the care surrounding Maxwell Dingle from Newtown, and Mohammed Ismael Zaman.

The judge imposed a fine of £800,000 on one of two charges relating to the death of 31-year-old Mr Zaman, a dialysis patient, and an additional £533,334 over a charge brought in relation to the death of Max Dingle, 83 who lived in Newtown, Powys.

Opening the facts of the case against the trust, the Care Quality Commission’s lawyer Ryan Donoghue said Mr Dingle’s “head was trapped between the bed rails and mattress” after he was admitted with chronic lung disease.

An alarm was immediately raised when Mr Dingle was found, the court heard, and he was freed, but he died from a cardiac arrest.

Referring to the death of Mr Dingle, Mr Donoghue said: “The basis (of the guilty plea) is that the failures exposed him to a significant risk of avoidable harm.”

In a victim impact statement which was read to the court, Mr Dingle’s son Phil said they had shared a “very special bond” for 57 years.

He also paid tribute to the retired policeman, who lived in Newtown, as a “mountain of a man” who was always the source of great advice.

The pensioner’s son flew back to the UK from his home in Australia to visit his father, but was told he had died before having chance to see him.

The victim impact statement read: “Dad’s death was a total shock to me. I had been told he was responding positively (to treatment).”

Mr Dingle said he been left with a sense of injustice and an image of his father dying an unnatural death “similar to someone in quicksand.”

His statement added: “It seemed that the Trust were trying to whitewash what occurred.

“I do not believe all the circumstances of the death were provided to the pathologist.”

Mr Dingle, who watched the proceedings via a video-link, said the death should have been treated as “potential manslaughter”.

In a further statement issued after the hearing, Mr Dingle’s son Max said: “It is sad to lose a father at any stage in life, but more so in such tragic and preventable circumstances.

“I thank Fiona Allison from the CQC for progressing the case to a prosecution, and also the hospital team who cared for my father in the last fifteen minutes of his life when he was prevented from resuscitation due to a procedural issue with his case notes.

“With many still unanswered questions, I find it incomprehensible that a hospital Trust is allowed to ‘self police’ a Serious and Unexpected Incident which is highlighted as a known risk by the Health and Safety Executive.”

MORE NEWS:

The trust has subsequently offered its apologies to the families of the two men.

Director of nursing at the trust, Hayley Flavell, said: “Following today’s court proceedings, where the trust accepted full responsibility and pleaded guilty to the three charges brought against us, we offer our sincere apologies and heartfelt condolences to the families we let down.

“We are truly sorry for the pain and distress caused as a result of the failures in the provision of care.

“A series of immediate actions were implemented following internal investigations and external review to ensure that steps were taken to address the failings, which has been recognised in the judgment today.

“On behalf of the trust, I want to stress again how sorry we are for the pain and distress caused to the families and we commit to continue to improve the quality of care we provide.”

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.