ALLEGATIONS against a Hampshire-based mental health trust accused to failing to safeguard patients are due to be aired in court today.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is prosecuting Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust following an incident at Melbury Lodge – near to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

Southern is accused of failing to provide safe care and treatment and failing to assess the risks to the health and safety of patients.

The case, due to be heard at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court, centres on a service user who suffered serious injuries after falling from a roof.

After the incident it was reported that a 65-year-old man was taken to Southampton General Hospital with head and neck injuries.

In March this year the Daily Echo revealed that Calmore-based Southern would be the first health trust in the country to be prosecuted by a care regulator.

Speaking at the time Julie Dawes, interim chief executive of Southern, said: “I can confirm that the CQC has informed us of its decision to prosecute the trust in relation to a health and safety incident which took place in December 2015.

“I express again our apologies to the patient involved, and the patient’s family.

“The safety of people using our services is of central importance to us and we are doing everything we can to improve the safety and quality of our services at present.

“The incident in 2015 involved a patient getting on the roof of the building and falling from it which resulted in injury.

“Since the incident the trust has made significant improvements to Melbury Lodge, investing over £1 million.

“This includes climb-proof guttering to prevent a similar incident taking place, as well as comprehensive refurbishment of the interior to make the ward safer and more therapeutic for patients.”

A statement issued by the CQC in March said: “We have informed the trust it will be prosecuted over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to a patient and other patients being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

“The prosecution follows an incident when a patient sustained serious injuries during a fall from a low roof at Melbury Lodge.

“By law, registered providers of health and social care services, including NHS trusts, must take all reasonable steps and exercise all due diligence to ensure patients receive safe care and treatment.”

Last night Southern and the CQC both declined to make any further comment ahead of today’s hearing.