Provider prosecuted after resident contracted Legionella

Mental health service faces prosecution
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A provider has been ordered to pay more than £165,000 by magistrates, after a 56-year-old man died from legionella disease while in their care.

Sentinel Health Care Ltd, which runs the Fordingbridge Care Home in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to Andrew Clegg while he was a resident at the property in November 2017.

It also pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment exposing other service users to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

The provider, which operates six homes in and around the New Forest, was fined £75,000 for each charge and ordered to pay £17,500 prosecution costs, plus a £170 victim surcharge at West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court.

The prosecution, brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is the first time the regulator has used its powers against a provider in a case where a person has contracted Legionella.

A spokesperson for Fordingbridge Care Home said: ‘We accept the findings of the court and apologise wholeheartedly for the events that led to the passing of Mr Clegg. Our thoughts remain with his loved ones and we hope that today’s findings offer them some closure.

‘While the ultimate responsibility remained with us, the court has noted that we were let down by our advisors and contractors and this contributed to the events which led up to this tragic accident. In the three years that have passed since, we have worked tirelessly with all the relevant authorities to make sure nothing like this happens again. Our work to improve standards has been recognised in the latest CQC inspection report, which has graded the home as “good” in all areas.’

Rebecca Bauers, CQC’s head of inspection for adult social care, said: ‘Mr Clegg had every right to expect safe care at the Fordingbridge Care Home and Sentinel Care Services Limited has a specific legal duty to follow the Health and Safety Act to ensure the home was safe for people. In this case their negligence allowed Legionella bacteria to develop and grow in the water supply putting people living there at risk.

‘The Health and Safety Executive has very clear guidance on management of Legionella in care homes and this was clearly not followed.’