HSE Issues Warning Following Sussex Nursing Home Trial

The Health and Safety Executive today warned care homes across the country to stick to guidelines in order to avoid fatal incidents.

The announcement came in the wake of yesterday’s trial of two Sussex-based nursing care home-owners whose actions resulted in the tragic death of 86 year-old Bettina East in November of last year.

Alan Lucas and Richard Wooton of The Ormsby Centre, Sussex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and were fined £16,000 each plus £22,560 in total costs at Worthing Magistrates Court.

On 2 November 2005, Lucas and Wooton lowered resident Mrs East into a bath without carrying out a number of health and safety checks and a full temperature check.

As a result, Mrs East suffered severe scalding to her legs and died a few days later.

The scalds were later confirmed to be a contributory factor to her death.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Maria Strangward said: “This case highlights the serious consequences of not sticking to the guidance set by Health and Safety for residential care homes.

“There are a number of reasonable measures the care assistants could have taken that would have prevented this tragic incident. These measures are set out in the Health and Safety guidance for residential care homes, which
every care home should have access to.”