In a case prosecuted by Ashfield District Council at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday 2 November, Ashmere Care Homes (A Partnership) have been ordered to pay a fine of £40,000 and costs totalling £119,132 for failing to ensure the health and safety of residents at Sutton Court Care Home in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
The Partnership had previously pleaded guilty to one offence under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at a hearing on 24 July 2017.
The case arose as a result of a lengthy investigation following a choking incident which occurred on 13 July 2013 at Sutton Court care home. Carmen Barker, an 80-year-old resident with dementia who had no teeth or dentures, died after being provided with a meal which was not suitable for her needs.
His Honour Judge Sampson found that there was a real risk of choking in Mrs Barker’s case. His Honour said there was a confused and inconsistent picture of her care, staff had had little or no time to read care plans and no training about food preparation had been provided. He stated that the partnership had however now remedied these problems.
The Partnership accepted that it failed to ensure the health and safety of residents at Sutton Court including Mrs Barker, and that its failings were a significant cause of the fatality.
Councillor Cheryl Butler, Leader of Ashfield District Council said: “The Council will not hesitate to take enforcement proceedings when its investigations identify failures in health and safety, particularly when it results in serious harm.
“The pleasing outcome of this case is testament to the hard work of all the officers involved, leading to a successful prosecution and improved methods of care within the care home.”