Care provider ordered to pay £50,000 fine after resident suffers burns

The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) has been ordered to pay £50,000 plus legal costs, following an incident at a care home in which a person sustained serious injuries.

The provider, which runs the Cornwallis Court care home in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, was fined at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on 10 January, having pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to a resident of the home.

The prosecution was brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The court heard that Avril McCreeth fell at the care home on 10 January 2016 and became stuck against a hot pipe, inflicting significant burns to her back.

A subsequent CQC investigation found that RMBI failed in its duty to implement systems and processes to protect people from hot surfaces, meaning the incident could have been avoided.

Ms McCreeth has since died. Her death was not linked to injuries sustained at Cornwallis Court.

‘While we welcome the fact that the RMBI accepted responsibility in this case, we would always rather not be in the position of having to take action because vulnerable people have been failed by those providing their care,’ said Jemima Burnage, CQC head of inspection for adult social care. ‘The risk of people sustaining serious burns from uncovered pipes is something all care homes should be aware of.

‘We hope this result sends a message to all care home providers that they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing,’ Burnage added.

RMBI Care Co. said: ‘RMBI deeply regrets and has accepted responsibility for the accident which related to the unfortunate exposure of a resident to a section of unprotected hot piping in her bathroom.

‘Since the accident RMBI Care Co. has taken over management of the care homes previously operated by RMBI and has taken all necessary steps to review safety standards at the home and ensure that safety procedures are reviewed on a regular basis.

‘RMBI Care Co. takes our responsibility for safeguarding our residents extremely seriously and we are committed to providing the highest quality care. The safety and welfare of our residents is of paramount importance to us.’