The Sentencing Council's Definitive Guideline (the Guideline) for health and safety, corporate manslaughter, and food safety and hygiene offences has significantly increased sentences and the care sector is starting to feel the effects. Gowling WLG's health and care experts look at some recent applications of the Guideline, which came into force on 1 February 2016 and must be used for offences sentenced after that date.
A national care home operator was fined £400,000 last month for the "inappropriate management" of bedrails at one of its homes. The case surrounded the death of one of the homes' residents, following a failure to ensure that their bedrail assessment was suitable and sufficient.
Despite the care home developing a policy on bedrail management, it was not fully implemented. Staff were not trained appropriately and assessments were neither conducted nor reviewed when required. In this case, the bedrail review should have identified further measures to prevent or reduce the risk of falls, but the staff carrying out the initial assessment were not adequately trained and therefore failed to identify further measures to protect the resident. HSE highlighted the need for homes to assess residents continually on an individual basis.
Although the largest so far in the care sector, this is not the first fine implemented by the Courts following the implementation of the new Guidelines. An NHS Foundation Trust was fined £200,000 on 27 May 2016 for failing to maintain a patient trolley. Following an investigation it was found...