HSE fines care home £400k for death of vulnerable resident

  • Health & Safety
£400,000 fine for care home death of vulnerable resident
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Serious safety breaches leading to the death of a vulnerable resident have seen a care home operator in Scotland fined £400,000

Susan Greens, a 95-year-old resident at Springfield Bank Care Home, went missing on the night of 16 December 2021. A search of the Bonnyrigg site found Mrs Greens lying in an external courtyard, where she had fallen and struck her head. She had been outside in the cold for up to an hour and a half.

Mrs Greens was admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary but died two days later.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated Springfield Bank, finding that Mrs Greens died because doors were left unlocked and staff had no way of being notified. This meant she could easily access the courtyard unsupervised, where she fell and injured her head.

HC-One Limited run Springfield Bank Care Home, a purpose-built care home that offers nursing and dementia care. At Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 22 February, HC-One Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £400,000.

HSE inspector Kerry Cringan spoke following the ruling:

“This error cost a vulnerable old lady her life – families think that their loved ones will be safe in care.

“This was tragic and wholly avoidable. Had the doors been kept locked at night or had there been a system where staff would be told if the doors to the courtyard had been opened, the accident could have been avoided.”

A spokesperson for HC-One Ltd said:

“Our heartfelt condolences and sincere apologies are with the family and loved ones of Ms Greens, who was a much loved member of our home.

“We are clear that this tragedy should never have occurred and that we absolutely must learn lessons from it. Following the accident in 2021, we comprehensively reviewed the safety and security of all our homes. Colleagues have received additional training around the themes identified in this case, new door alarms have been fitted to alert colleagues when an external door is opened so appropriate checks can be completed, and we have introduced additional monitoring and supervision practices.

“While we know that we cannot change what happened to Mrs Greens, we hope the hearing and the comprehensive action we’ve taken will bring her family a sense of closure.”

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