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Man who helped get NHS Act through Parliament died after fall, inquest hears

Ronald Alston, 90, died at his home in Claydon on February 25, 2015 Picture: RICHARD ALSTON

Ronald Alston, 90, died at his home in Claydon on February 25, 2015 Picture: RICHARD ALSTON

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A 90-year-old man who played a role in getting the 1948 NHS Act through parliament died as a result of a fall at an Ipswich Community Hospital, an inquest concluded.

As a teenager, Ronald Alston was drafted into the RAF to work as ground crew and later became a principal officer in the Department of Health Picture: RICHARD ALSTONAs a teenager, Ronald Alston was drafted into the RAF to work as ground crew and later became a principal officer in the Department of Health Picture: RICHARD ALSTON

Ronald Alston died on February 25, 2015, at his home in The Slade, Claydon.

Born in Southwark in London, Mr Alston served in the RAF during the war as a teenager, working as ground crew at air bases all across the country.

After the war he joined the Civil Service as part of the Department of Health, where his team were responsible for getting the 1948 NHS Act through parliament.

His son Richard said his father was a very kind and humble man, often keeping quiet about the role he played in the creation of the NHS.

An inquest into his death at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich heard Mr Alston suffered a fall at his home on December 22, 2014, and was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he underwent surgery to his right hip.

He was transferred to Aldeburgh Community Hospital and was later moved to Bluebird Lodge, in Ipswich, to be closer to his wife Margaret.

There he suffered two further falls on January 19 and February 3, 2015, the second of which refractured his hip.

He was sent home on February 18, where his health deteriorated due to his inability to move.

He died a week later.

Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish said staff had completed sufficient risk assessments and that Mr Alston had become confused and was hallucinating following his fall at home in December 2014.

She concluded that the falls could not have been prevented.

The inquest heard since Mr Alston's death, Bluebird Lodge had used his death as a case study, giving staff extra training in dementia, delirium, bone health and pharmacist impact on medication and had made sure all call bells were working properly.

Ms Devonish said: "Whilst frailty of health and old age were likely contributing factors it is clear that the fall on February 3, 2015, resulting in a refracture of his operated right hip was a significant contributing factor in his death."

Following the conclusion, Richard Alston said he was pleased the coroner had been so thorough and was reassured that lessons had been learnt.


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