The NHS trust which manages Epsom Hospital has apologised after neglect contributed to the death of an 80-year-old patient, according to a coroner’s verdict.

Rita Taylor was admitted for treatment on July 31, following a "collapse with confusion", before she passed away just over two weeks later on August 15.

Dr Karen Henderson, HM assistant coroner for Surrey, gave a medical cause of death as pneumonia and central pontine myelinolysis, a neurological condition which affects the brain.

But Mrs Taylor’s passing has led to the hospital being criticised over how she was assessed and managed for both low sodium levels in her blood and diabetes insipidus.

The narrative conclusion was ruled as “sub-optimal care contributed to by neglect”.

A report into the prevention of future deaths, made available to the public on September 23, highlights seven matters of concern by the coroner.

Among them, it said: “The failure to appropriately manage Mrs Taylor’s hyponatraemia [low sodium level in the blood] by the on-call consultant physician on July 31 on the grounds that it was not his sphere of expertise.

“No contact was considered or made to someone who may have been able to assist, leaving Mrs Taylor to languish overnight with no management plan in place and a lack of any meaningful documentation in her hospital notes.

“The apparent lack of understanding of the appropriate management of hyponatraemia by consultants, whose care Mrs Taylor was under, despite two emergency consultant physicians having a specialist interest in endocrinology.

“Whilst some attempt was made to contact St George’s Hospital, this was not successfully followed through to assist them in their management.”

The report into action to prevent future deaths was published following an inquest into Mrs Taylor’s death which concluded on May 23 this year.

A spokeswoman for Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages Epsom Hospital, said: “We are deeply sorry that the care provided to Mrs Taylor fell below the high standards we expect and strive for, and we would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones.

“Following a detailed investigation into Mrs Taylor’s care, we have taken robust and significant action to make sure we learn lessons from this and minimise the chance of similar incidents happening again.

“These actions have included changing the shift pattern of some doctors in acute medicine in order to improve continuity of care, updating our guidelines around the management of hyponatraemia, and introducing a new system for escalating concerns about a patient’s condition.”