Southern Health — which notoriously failed to investigate hundreds of patient deaths between 2011 and 2015 — was prosecuted by the regulatory Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The CQC prosecution was the first of its kind.
Southern Health pleaded guilty at Basingstoke magistrates’ court in June to the offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment and failing to assess risk to patients at Melbury Lodge at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester in December 2015.
Prosecutors said Southern Health had failed to take action to prevent patients from gaining access through a window to a rooftop until mid-2016, after patients climbed on to the roof seven times between 2010 and 2014.
One patient, referred to as AB, fell from the rooftop and suffered serious neck injuries. He had been on the roof before but had been brought back inside safely.
Three more patients managed to get on to the roof in February 2016, with one suffering minor injuries.
AB had been a patient at the trust before. When he was re-admitted his wife asked staff to “keep an eye on him.”
Chief inspector of hospitals Professor Ted Baker said Southern Health had “failed to make basic improvements” despite being aware of the dangers.
“There can be no excuse for this failure by Southern Health to protect their patients from harm.
“Unfortunately this was not an isolated incident — but part of a wider failure to deal with concerns over safety as they arose.”
The trust apologised to patients and said it accepted more should have been done.
Southern Health had previously been criticised over its failure to properly investigate deaths at its hospitals.
In July 2013, Connor Sparrowhawk drowned after an epileptic seizure at Oxford unit Slade House. An inquest later ruled neglect contributed to his death.
In March this year the entire board of directors at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust resigned after a review of its services.