AN INQUEST has heard how the “reckless disregard of patient safety” resulted in the death of a man who had long been suffering from a genetic disease.

Matthew Simmonds, who died at his mother's home in Oakmount Road in Chandler's Ford, was dying from a rare genetic condition called von Hippel-Lindau syndrome resulting in the need for round-the-clock care and invasive ventilation.

The court heard how Mr Simmonds, 39, had been transferred from Southampton General Hospital to spend the remainder of his life at home but died just hours later after one of the ventilators had not been turned on by either of the agency nurses contracted to care for him.

Dr Dominic Bell, intensive care consultant based at Leeds General Infirmary, said in his report that the evidence indicated a “reckless disregard of patient safety” and had shown “identifiable shortfalls in the agencies”.

“I think ensuring familiarity with the patient and the defined care plans is part of the handover of care,” he said. “But I would say that the key priority remains the safety and well-being of the patient.”

Yesterday one of the nurses contracted to Matthew's care, Kadiatu Harris, said she felt the handover was rushed between herself and the duty nurse she had been taking over from, Fauzia Rust.

Recording a narrative verdict, central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short, said: “The two nurses were not working as a team probably due to their opposing personalities. Neither nurse made appropriate observations of Matt after the changeover. I find that a proper handover is critical especially in a care plan as complex as Matt's.

“It's important that all necessary information is relayed from the first nurse to the second, both nurses having responsibility to the patient during this part. However the need to care for the patient during the handover is paramount. The nurses were too concerned with the handover and not enough of the needs of the patient.”