Wakefield care home fined £120K after 81-year-old woman fell and broke neck

The incident happened at the West Ridings Care Home in Wakefield,operated by Bupa at the time, on July 7 2015.
The incident happened at the West Ridings Care Home in Wakefield,operated by Bupa at the time, on July 7 2015.

A Wakefield care home has been fined more than £120,000 after an 81-year-old woman fell over and broke her neck.

The incident happened at the West Ridings Care Home in Wakefield, operated by Bupa at the time, on July 7 2015.

Joyce MacDonald fell as she walked alone to the bathroom after being given a medication which contained a sedative, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC said that in the days after the fall, Mrs MacDonald complained of severe pain and was given ibuprofen pain relief, which she was allergic to.

She was taken to hospital for an x-ray five days later which showed that she had a fractured neck.

The health and social care regulator said that Mrs MacDonald became immobile after the incident and died in March 2016, having been "unable to return to an independent lifestyle".

Leeds Magistrates Court also heard of a second incident at the care home which resulted in a 65-year-old woman being taken to hospital with a serious wound.

On July 4 2015 Mary Smith, who had mobility needs, fell as she walked to the bathroom with one member of staff.

She suffered a deep laceration to her left leg and was admitted to hospital for treatment, the CQC said.

Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court to two separate offences of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm.

On Monday, August 19 of this year, District Judge Kitson fined the provider £100,000.

It was also ordered to pay £23,579.90 towards the cost of the prosecution and a £120 victim surcharge.

Sheila Grant, Head of Inspection Adult Social Care, North, said: “This provider failed to perform the basics and understand people’s care needs to ensure they received the support they deserve, despite having access to all the relevant information directly.

“Two people were seriously injured, in incidents that were entirely avoidable if the provider had ensured the home employed robust management and governance to support staff in delivering high quality care.

“Where we find poor care, we will always consider using our enforcement powers to hold care providers accountable for their actions.”

Bupa has apologised for the incidents and said it "immediately implemented changes" and "introduced a more robust system."

Rebecca Pearson, Operations Director for Bupa Care Services said: “We are extremely sorry for what happened in July 2015, and our thoughts are with the families at this time.

"We always aim to provide the highest possible standards in care but acknowledge that we fell short at this home.

"While we can’t change what happened, we immediately implemented changes to prevent such issues from reoccurring.”

Bupa said it sold the West Ridings care home to another company in February 2018.