Health and Care sector fines update
Previous briefings have commented on the level of fines imposed on care home providers in proceedings taken either by the CQC or the HSE.
Some recent cases provide additional guidance:
- A care home operated by the Catholic Church in Dundee was fined £40,000 in a prosecution by the HSE as a result of an elderly man falling 30 feet from a second-floor window. The HSE inspectors had found that the care home windows did not have adequate restrictors.
- A Cheshire care provider was fined £200,000 following injury to a resident as a result of insufficient basic health and safety measures including a lack of motion sensors and safety mats. CQC prosecuted on the basis of the provider failing to provide safe care.
- A Surrey care provider was fined £100,000 in a prosecution by CQC for failing to keep safe a resident who was attacked by another resident with a Zimmer frame.
In each case the provider pleaded guilty and was also ordered to pay prosecution costs.
It is important to obtain specialist advice on prosecutions at an early stage, particularly if the provider is proposing to plead guilty and therefore wishes to be able to claim the greatest discount on the fine for an early plea. It is important that this is done at the right time if a full discount is to be obtained.
However, CQC are not only prosecuting safety cases. University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust was recently fined £1,600 for failing to comply with the duty of candour contained in Regulation 20 under the Health and Social Care Act. This was the first NHS prosecution for a breach of the requirements of the duty of candour, which clearly reflects the importance of that. Providers would be well advised to check that their systems fulfil their duty of candour obligations.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.