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Businessman named as listeria victim following outbreak

Ian Hitchcock died after eating a contaminated sandwich at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Ian Hitchcock died after eating a contaminated sandwich, his family said (Peter Byrne/PA)
Ian Hitchcock died after eating a contaminated sandwich, his family said (Peter Byrne/PA)

A businessman has been named as one of the victims of the listeria outbreak at hospitals in the UK.

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died after eating a contaminated sandwich while at the Royal Derby Hospital, it is claimed.

He had been admitted on May 15 after being diagnosed with liver cancer the previous week.

Mr Hitchcock’s family said he was subsequently diagnosed with listeria and was later transferred to the Nottingham City Hospital, where he died on June 8.

Derby Coroner’s Court confirmed the inquest into Mr Hitchcock’s death is due to be opened in the city on Thursday.

The family said in a statement: “Ian’s family are clearly very upset at this time and would request that they are allowed to grieve in privacy.”

Mr Hitchcock, from Matlock in Derbyshire, ran a family haulage company with his brother and was the father of 19-year-old twin sons.

His brother Alan, 54, had previously told the Times newspaper: “When he went into hospital, I thought he would soon be back at work. I didn’t think he would die because of the food.”

Five people are suspected to have died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads linked to the same supplier, The Good Food Chain.

Earlier this week, the NHS identified University Hospitals of Derby and Burton as one of the hospital trusts affected by a patient death.

There were also two deaths at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, one at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, and one at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Three other trusts had diagnosed listeria cases linked to the outbreak with no deaths – two at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one case at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and one at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously warned there will be “severe consequences” if there is evidence of “wrongdoing” over the listeria outbreak.

The Good Food Chain, which supplied 43 NHS trusts across the UK as well as one independent provider, voluntarily ceased production and Public Health England (PHE) said the investigation into the outbreak is continuing.

The business was supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which has since tested positive for the outbreak strain of listeria and also stopped production.

Listeria infection is rare and usually causes a mild illness in healthy people.

However, it can have more serious consequences among those with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women and those with a weak immune system.

PHE insisted the health risk to the public remains low and said people should only seek medical attention if they develop symptoms.

PA

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