No-one will face prosecution over the deaths of 90 patients from C difficile at a Kent trust, it was announced today.
Kent police and the Health and Safety Executive said they would take no further action after a review prompted by the critical Healthcare Commission report into Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust.
The report found that C difficile was definitely or probably the cause of 90 patient deaths over a two-year period. It described a "litany" of errors at the trust.
Chief executive Rose Gibb left the trust the week before the commission's report was published. Today, her partner Mark Rees - a former health service manager - welcomed the announcement that no charges would be brought.
"I would suggest any further questions should be put to the leadership of the NHS and secretary of state as they are better placed to explain the real underlying causes and issues then existing throughout the NHS," he told reporters outside the couple's home.
"Everything else is a deflection from the real issues and further political scapegoating of Rose."
Ms Gibb is pursuing the trust for a£150,000 pay-off, which was agreed before her departure but has only been paid in part.
Managers in Partnership, which is representing her, said: "Senior managers must be able to account for their actions, especially around patient and staff safety. They must never be beyond scrutiny. This includes criminal investigation. All staff are responsible for safety, but managers shoulder the greatest burden. What's important is managers get a fair hearing and investigators consider the full background to managerial decisions."
But there was anger from relatives of patients who died, who said someone should have been held to account for the deaths.
Kent police said there is no information to indicate that "grossly negligent acts" occurred.
The C difficile outbreaks occurred before the current Corporate Manslaughter Act was law, although it is uncertain that the new law would have made prosecutions any more likely
Health and Safety Executive deputy chief executive Sandra Caldwell said: "From the interviews with the experts who advised the Healthcare Commission we concluded that there was insufficient information to link the actions of any individual with the spread of infection or to show that any senior managers within the trust were personally responsible for any direct failure that led to infection.
"The trust has acknowledged that mistakes were made. There have been a series of changes in the management of the trust and in the senior management team. The Healthcare Commission has reported improvements in the performance of the trust in managing C difficile infections."
The trust's new chief executive Glenn Douglas said: "We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and that is what we have done. We are determined to ensure our hospitals continue to be as safe as possible for patients."