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05 May 2017
Forth Valley Stronger Together

A care provider has been fined £190,000 following the death of a disabled resident who broke his neck at a nursing home in West Yorkshire.

Watchdog the Care Quality Commission prosecuted Leeds-based St Anne's Community Services after 62-year-old Kevin McNally died at the home in Smithies Moor Lane, Birstall, in April last year.

Bradford Magistrates' Court was told that Mr McNally, who had Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, dementia and a severe learning disability, had lived in the nursing home since 2012.

In April 2015 two care workers had gone to Mr McNally's bedroom to help him take a shower using a shower commode chair. The shower chair fell forwards while he was loosely strapped in. Staff attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, told the court that the provider had failed to adequately control the risk of serious injury and the accident was avoidable.

This accident was entirely avoidable. The risk of people sustaining serious injuries because safety or posture belts are not used properly has been well known for some time. Yet St Anne’s Community Services failed in its duty to ensure that care and treatment was provided in a safe way, and as a result Kevin McNally died. It is a tragedy which need not have happened.

"When serious incidents occur, we now have additional powers to hold providers to account in the courts. In future if we find that a care provider has put people in its care at risk of harm, we will always consider using those powers to the full to prosecute those who are responsible."    – Debbie Westhead, deputy chief inspector of adult social care