Salutem fined £100,000 for failing to protect resident

Salutem LD Bidco IV Ltd has been ordered to pay more than £117,000 after failing to provide safe care and treatment to a resident.

The provider, which operated Birchwood Care Home in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, was ordered to pay £117,681 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court today (Monday 20 November). As well as a £100,000 fine, it has to pay a £181 victim surcharge and £17,500 costs to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which brought the prosecution.

The case involved a resident at the service who experienced several health conditions. In February 2020, the 53-year-old woman was supported by two care workers to have a bath. The staff did not check the water temperature before placing her in. Support plans, policies and risk assessments did not provide good enough guidance to staff as to what was a safe water temperature as per the Health and Safety Executive guidelines.

The resident was lowered into the water via an overhead hoist. She expressed discomfort and was removed from the bath. The staff members added cold water and re-immersed her. It was not until she was being dried the staff noticed that her feet were red.

Later, the resident told staff she was experiencing pain and they noticed skin was starting to blister and peel. The home called NHS111 and then for an ambulance, and soothed and cooled the wounds.

She was admitted to hospital overnight and given pain relief but had experienced sustained second-degree immersion scalds from the bottom of her feet to the top of her ankles.

‘[The resident] had the right to expect to be kept safe from harm while living at Birchwood Care Home. But in this, case the provider failed in its legal duty to protect her from being exposed to significant harm,’ said Amy Jupp, CQC deputy director for the south.

A spokesperson for Salutem LD Bidco IV Ltd said: ‘We strive to ensure the safety and support of every single individual we support to have their best lives; in this instance we are extremely sorry that this happened. Lessons have been learnt and policies reviewed to ensure that nothing like this happens again. We pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and note the sanction that has been imposed.’