Care home briefing 161 – Latest prosecutions in the care home sector
Those responsible for the management of care homes risk potential prosecution by the police, Health & Safety Executive and the CQC.
As a result of new sentencing guidelines that came into force in February 2016, fines are likely to increase, and recently reported cases would suggest that is the case:
- Earlier this year, Sherwood Rise Limited was fined £300,000 for corporate manslaughter and the home manager was sentenced to 3 years and 2 months imprisonment
- BUPA was fined £400,000 when a 91-year old resident died after falling from her bed
- Embrace All Limited was recently fined £1.5 million after a dementia sufferer died falling down stairs – and were also ordered to pay costs of £200,000
- St Anne’s Community Services was prosecuted by the CQC and fined £190,000 plus costs following a resident fatality at one of its care homes in West Yorkshire
- Coverage Care Services Limited was fined £50,000 in a prosecution brought by the CQC following the death of a service user
The last two of these examples demonstrate the increase in activity by the CQC to utilise its prosecution role. This trend is likely to continue.
All potential prosecution cases clearly need to be taken very seriously. Suspects interviewed under caution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act have a right to legal representation, and it is clearly important to ensure that appropriately qualified and expert solicitors who understand the care home sector undertake this role. There may also be cases where it would be appropriate to refuse to answer questions but rather to provide a written, advance prepared statement.
As ever, it is important to take early expert advice in such matters.
Partner and Head of Healthcare – Providers
T. 020 7227 7282
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.