Former Care Home Group Prosecuted after Death of 76 year old Resident

A former care home group that went into administration in July 2011 were prosecuted in late spring of this year following the death of a resident in their care.

Mrs Barbara Kilty who was a 76 year old mother of six died in Stoke Mandeville Hospital 17 days after she had slipped from her wheelchair shortly after she had been transferred from her bed using a hoist.

The Ashbourne Group UK Ltd which were part of the Southern Cross Healthcare group were the owners of the Lakeside Care Centre in Aylesbury at the time of the incident on 25th December 2010.The centre is now in the hands of new owners.

Aylesbury Crown court were told that Mrs Kitty who had been a resident at the Lakeside Care Centre for more than three years slipped from her wheelchair following a hoisting transfer. She broke her hip as a result but the incident went unreported within the care home.

Ten days after the incident Mrs Kilty was sent for an x-ray after she had continued to show distress on being moved by staff.

Seventeen days after the fall Mrs Kilty was eventually taken into hospital care for an operation to correct the fracture but sadly she died shortly after the operation whilst still in hospital.

The court heard how the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found that the risk assessment, equipment and procedures for safer moving and handling within the care home were not suited to the needs of an immobile resident such as Mrs Kilty. The care home group were found to be in breach of section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The presiding Judge Mr Laird QC said “The company are in liquidation and have no assets. Any fine the court could impose would therefore be meaningless. The standards at Lakeside Care Home were woefully inadequate. Had Ashbourne Group UK Ltd still been trading I would have imposed a fine of £100.00. However because the company has no assets I impose a nominal fee of £1.”

After the hearing the HSE inspector Emma Rowlands said “This was an entirely avoidable incident involving a frail and vulnerable lady. Ashbourne Group UK Ltd should have made sure that equipment appropriate to the needs of Mrs Kitty was provided. If anything positive is to come out of this very sad incident, it is other employers take note and be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take action against those who fall so far below the required standards. Each year a significant number of incidents are reported involving people being injured while being moved with hoisting equipment.”

Mrs Kilty’s daughters added “We are very angry and upset that yet another care home didn’t care. Our mother passed away through negligence on the part of Southern Cross. We would like to thank the Health and Safety Executive for pursuing this case.”

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