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Healthcare company fined after death of elderly resident

Date:
30 June 2016

A care home company based in Middlesex has been fined after an elderly resident of a Surrey home died from scalding injuries.

Guildford Crown Court heard how the 89-year-old was receiving personal care from two employees of European Healthcare Group Plc at Old Wall Cottage Nursing Home. She received significant scalding injuries, and subsequently died of her injuries in hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 30 August 2011, found that the bathroom taps in were not adjusted to limit the temperature of the water to a safe level for bathing and showering.

The investigation also found that while the company had policies and procedures in place they were deficient and the company failed to effectively communicate information and instruction to its staff so that the control measures could be implemented effectively.

European Healthcare Group Plc, of Windsor Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

HSE inspector Michelle Canning said after the hearing: “This tragic and preventable incident highlights the responsibility that all care providers have to protect the safety of people in their care. People who live in residential care and nursing homes are amongst some of the most vulnerable in our society and rely on others to provide a safe environment for them to live in.

“All healthcare premises have a legal duty to control the risks of scalding injuries from bathing or showering and there is guidance that is well established and simple to implement.”

For further information on scalding and burning visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/scalding-burning.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk 
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/   
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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