Care home group ordered to pay hefty fine over ‘sudden’ death of resident
A Court has ordered prominent healthcare group Bupa to pay a hefty fine after a resident living in one of its care homes suffered a ‘sudden’ death shortly after moving into the property.
Mr Kenneth Ibbetson tragically passed away in June 2015 from Legionnaire’s disease, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
The 86-year-old, whose death was described as ‘sudden’, contracted the condition shortly after moving into Bupa’s Hutton Village Care Home in Essex – which had, five years earlier, been asked to take steps to combat Legionnaire’s after it was identified as being a place of risk.
The revelations followed an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shortly after Mr Ibbetson’s death, which revealed that red flags were first raised over Legionnaire’s risk at the property in 2012.
HSE’s investigation found that, since then, Bupa had failed to implement adequate ‘control and monitoring measures’ to safely manage the care home’s hot and cold water systems. The HSE also found that members of staff responsible for monitoring water temperature and overseeing the home’s Legionella controls had not been trained to the correct standard.
Upon examining the evidence, the Court found Bupa guilty of a number of health and safety failings and ordered the group to pay a £3 million fine, on top of costs of £151,482.
Commenting, Vicky Fletcher, of the HSE, said: “Mr Ibbetson and other residents were exposed to the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease because adequate controls were not in place. The risk is more acute in care home settings because residents are more susceptible due to their underlying health conditions.
“We would expect those who have a duty of care to understand this and have the necessary controls in place to manage the risk.”
A Bupa spokesperson added that the organisation was “deeply sorry” and said that its “thoughts are with Mr Ibbetson’s family and friends.”