Care Home Sentenced Over Death Of Resident

Death Of 100 Year-Old Woman Results In Fines For Healthcare Firm And Director


A healthcare firm and its director have been sentenced by Luton Crown Court for their roles in the death of a 100 year-old resident.

May Ward suffered a fall while being moved by carers at Meppershall Care Home in Bedfordshire. Two care workers were moving Mrs Ward between a chair and bed using a hoist when she fell, suffering multiple fractures. She died the following day as a result of the injuries.

A HSE investigation established multiple failings that meant her death could have been prevented. The hoist used at the home was not recommended by Central Bedfordshire Council as being suitable for Mrs Ward's condition, and the two care workers had not received adequate training in its use.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had previously carried out inspections at the home, handing out 'poor' ratings on occasion. The home was briefly closed in July 2013 following concerns raised by a CQC investigation, and the incident involving Mrs Ward was not the first of its kind at the home.

The home's owners, GA Projects Limited, and its director Mohammed Zarook, have been ordered to pay over £335,000 in combined fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Emma Page said: "Mrs Ward's death was a wholly preventable tragedy caused by unacceptable management failings on the part of GA Projects Ltd and Mr Zarook. They put vulnerable residents at the care home at unnecessary risk.

"Working in a care home is a specialised job, which involves dealing with vulnerable people. Care homes must ensure that they have the correct training in place for all their employees, and that they work to adequately assess and mitigate all possible risks, so far as is reasonably practicable."

Expert Opinion
This is a terrible, tragic case in which clear failings led to the death of a vulnerable elderly woman. Care homes have a duty to ensure that suitable equipment is provided to their staff to ensure the safe care of their residents, while workers should also be comprehensively trained to ensure vulnerable residents are cared for appropriately.

"Sadly, issues of this nature are not uncommon and prosecutions of this kind must serve as a warning to care providers that they have to place safety at their core of all aspects of their work. The serious problems seen in this case should not be repeated in the future."
Ian Christian, Partner