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8th June 2022

Care Provider Fined £450,000 After Death Of Vulnerable Adult

Courthouse in the UK

A Scottish care provider – The Richmond Fellowship Scotland (RFS), has been found guilty of breaches of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and subsequently fined following the death of a vulnerable adult under their care.

Incident

On 10th June 2016, a resident at Cherry Tree Court care home drowned in a bath in their flat in the early hours of the morning. The individual had severe learning difficulties and required close attention from her carers. There were two support workers on shift on the night of the incident, tasked with the care needs of service users in four separate flats. They had failed to notice that this particular service user had been able to leave their bed, run a bath and subsequently drown.

Multiple Failings

RFS had provided a baby monitor to support workers to alert them to any movements in the flat. It was however later uncovered by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to be not suitable nor sufficient given the service user’s light footedness. Furthermore, the investigation uncovered that the water to the flat should have been isolated.

Due to staff shortages at the time of the incident, RFS had placed two support workers who were unfamiliar with the service-user in charge of the overnight care provision. In fact, one of the support workers was on their first shift at the care home.

It transpired that RFS had no specific induction procedures at Cherry Tree Court and that they relied on staff catching up on care plans whilst on shift.

In this circumstance, there were no clear instructions on the critical needs of the four people under their care and no specific plan for checking in on them at scheduled intervals.
It was also uncovered that care home staff had raised concerns previously about the service user in question being out of bed during the night, but no further control measures such as door sensors or pressure mats had been implemented by RFS.

Not-guilty Plea

RFS pled not guilty to the charges but was found guilty following a two-week trial. They were fined £450,000.

“Chelmsford Crown Court.” by Stuart Axe is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse.

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