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Death of former Newmarket trainer Jack Banks leads to changes in West Suffolk Hospital policy

Jack Banks (4260685)
Jack Banks (4260685)

The death of a popular member of Newmarket’s racing community, retired trainer and one-time top work rider Jack Banks,has led to changes at a Suffolk hospital, an inquest has heard.

The 78-year-old was admitted to West Suffolk Hospital suffering from a suspected chest infection last summer but suffered a fall on a ward and died following surgery.

An inquest held in Ipswich on Thursday heard Mr Banks, of Crockfords Road, Newmarket, had fractured his hip in the unwitnessed incident in August last year. He underwent surgery without complications buthis condition deteriorated and he died on September 8 last year.

The fallhappened as nurses were changing over from night to day shifts and Mr Banks, who had dementia and other medical issues, was found on the floor close to his bed.

Followinghis death, executive chief nurse Abigail Rowan Proctor told the inquest an investigation was launched which identified missed opportunities that may have reduced the risk of patient falls and identified that Mr Banks would have benefited from a Wanderguard, a device which alerts staff if a patient attempts to get out of bed and had been requested for him but one was not available.

The investigation report also pointed to reduced staff on duty overnight and the need for all patients aged over 65 and at risk of falls to have their blood pressure checked.

On the day Mr Banks fell, staff were gathered at the nurses’ station for the night to day shift changover, said Ms Proctor.

She said changes had nowbeen made to ensure the handover was done bay by bay on the ward with patients in view of staff. Other lessons learned included the need to review medication being taken by patients admitted with a risk of falls as some had repeat prescriptions and were using medication which was no longer appropriate.

Ms Proctor told the hearing said that despite the changes, it was not possible to entirely prevent falls but the risk could be reduced. The inquest heard that Mr Banks had died from sepis, a urinary tract infection and upper intestial bleeding together with pneumonia.

His widow, Irene, said in a statement: “His death came as an enormous shock as I expected him to come home after a couple of days.”

Senior Suffolk coroner, Nigel Parsley, in a narrative conclusion, said Mr Banks had died from a natural disease contributed to by injuries received in an earlier fall.

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