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Lancashire Care Home Fined for Failing to Provide Safe Care

A care provider has been ordered to pay £138,170 and the nursing home's manager has been ordered to pay £7,170 at Blackpool Magistrates' Court, after they failed to protect a resident from avoidable harm. 

The female patient died following care failures for her pressure sores at the Lancashire residential care home, which was shut down in 2020 following damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection findings and failure to improve services.

DM Care Limited, which ran the care home, was fined £120,000 in court Wednesday, 21 June, and was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £18,000 costs to the CQC, which brought the prosecution. 

The manager of the former care home, Rebecca Tucker, was also ordered to pay £2,000 and £5,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.

Litany of Care Failures

Highbury House Care Home was a residential care home in Blackpool providing personal care to people aged 65 and over. Mrs Mary Fallon was admitted to the facility in May 2017 and had no previous history of pressure sores.

On 5 November 2018, Mary was treated by district nurses for pressure ulcer wounds on her feet. As a result, a safeguarding alert was raised. Further twice-weekly district nurse visits continued until Mary was discharged from their care on 15 April 2019.

From 23 April 2019 there were a further 44 entries in Mary's care plan showing her pressure sores had returned. Rather than seeking treatment from the district nursing team, Rebecca Tucker instead decided to treat them herself.

On 28 June 2019, Mary was found unresponsive in bed and was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The inspection of her pressure areas revealed multiple areas of damage across her body – pressure ulcers and deep tissue injuries were found on Mary's heels, elbows, hip, buttock, natal cleft, and toes.

Mary died on 14 July 2019, and the primary cause of death was multi-organ failure caused by septicaemia, pressure sores, and generalised atherosclerosis.

The court found that the registered manager failed to ensure Mary received proper treatment for pressure ulcers and failed to ensure she received adequate preventative pressure sore care. The registered provider, DM Care Limited, failed to show governance and oversight and its preventing pressure sores policy was outdated and did not refer sufficiently to national guidance.

Holding Care Providers to Account

Commenting on the judgement, Sheila Grant, CQC's head of adult social care inspection, said: "Our sympathies are with those affected by the sad passing of Mary Fallon.

"Mrs Fallon had the right to be kept safe while living in and receiving care from DM Care Limited, but in this case the provider and the manager Rebecca Tucker failed in their legal duty to protect her from being exposed to significant harm. 

"I hope the outcome of this prosecution reminds care providers of their duty to assess and manage all risks to ensure people are kept safe."