Care home provider ordered to pay £50,000 after resident sustained serious injuries

The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution has been ordered to pay £50,000 plus legal costs, following an incident at a care home in which a person sustained serious injuries.

The care provider – which runs Cornwallis Court, Bury St Edmunds – was fined at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court (pictured), having pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to a resident of the home.

Cornwallis Court is a nursing home accommodating older people, including people living with dementia.

The prosecution was brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The court heard that Avril McCreeth fell at Cornwallis Court on 10 January 2016 and became stuck against a hot pipe, inflicting significant burns to her back.

A subsequent CQC investigation found the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution – as provider of the service – failed in their duty to implement systems and processes to protect people from hot surfaces, meaning the incident could have been avoided.

Ms McCreeth has since died but her death was not linked to injuries sustained.

Jemima Burnage, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said: “Avril McCreeth and her family had every right to expect safe care. This is a distressing case and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family.

“While we welcome the fact that the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution accepted responsibility in this case, we would always rather not be in the position of having to take action because vulnerable people have been failed by those providing their care.

“The risk of people sustaining serious burns from uncovered pipes is something all care homes should be aware of. We hope this result sends a message to all care home providers that they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.”

In a statement, RMBI Care Co, who now manage the home, said: “RMBI deeply regrets and has accepted responsibility for the accident which related to the unfortunate exposure of a resident to a section of unprotected hot piping in her bathroom.

“Since the accident RMBI Care Co has taken over management of the care homes previously operated by RMBI and has taken all necessary steps to review safety standards at the home and ensure that safety procedures are reviewed on a regular basis.

“The home is currently rated ‘good’ by CQC following the regulator’s last inspection in January 2018.”

Picture (c) Gareth Fuller / PA Wire.