BUPA fined for poor care

Published: 30 October 2019 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

A care provider that failed in its duty to provide safe care and treatment has been ordered to pay £123,699.90 in fines and costs by Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

The Care Quality Commission brought the prosecution following two serious incidents at West Ridings Care Home in Wakefield. At the time of the events the home was operated by Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited. The provider had previously pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court to two separate offences of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to Mrs Mary Smith and Mrs Joyce MacDonald.

The court heard how in late April 2015, Mrs Smith 65, was admitted to the West Ridings location without proper assessment or understanding of her care needs, despite being provided documentation relating to her assistance and mobility needs.

As a result, Mrs Smith suffered several falls whilst at West Ridings Residential Home. Although the falls were recorded the service did not reassess her care planning or put any actions in place to reduce the possibility of reoccurrence. On 4 July 2015 Mrs Smith was supported to use a rota stand to go to the toilet, the stand required two staff members to support it. Mrs Smith was supported by only one member of staff at the time, she fell and suffered a deep laceration to her left leg. The injury required that she be admitted to hospital for treatment.

The Court also heard of an incident on the night of 7 July 2015 where a resident, Mrs MacDonald 81, was supported to go to the toilet shortly after being given night-time medication, which contained a sedative. Mrs MacDonald was supported by a single member of staff but they left her to attend to another resident. Whilst alone Mrs MacDonald fell asleep and collapsed falling unsupported to the floor. Her family were not informed of the incident.

In the days after the fall Mrs MacDonald repeatedly complained of pain, and her family requested she be taken for an x-ray. The home stated the x-ray would be arranged and that she would be seen by a visiting GP. The x-ray was not arranged, and Mrs MacDonald was instead given ibuprofen pain relief medication, to which she was allergic. As of 12 July 2015 Mrs MacDonald was in severe pain and taken to hospital where an x-ray was performed, it showed she was suffering from a fractured neck.

Due to the neck injury Mrs MacDonald became immobile and was unable to return to an independent lifestyle, she passed away on 14 March 2016 having suffered a greatly reduced quality of life. She did not return to the home after the diagnosis.

Prosecuting Counsel Paul Greaney QC, acting for CQC, told the court that Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited failed to act in accordance with people’s health care needs, that failures in management and governance at the location exposed residents to the risk of harm. Failures in record keeping and proper care assessments combined with poor management led to two people suffering avoidable harm.

District Judge Kitson sitting at Leeds Magistrates’ Court sentenced the provider on 19th August 2019. Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited was fined £100,000.00 for failing in its duty to provide safe care and treatment to Mrs Smith and Mrs MacDonald and 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.”

Prosecuting Counsel Paul Greaney QC acting for CQC, speaking at the conclusion of the case, said:

“The defendant is a large organisation engaged in operating care homes around the country, including in July 2015 premises known as the West Ridings Residential and Nursing Home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. 

“During 2015, management of that home became hopelessly inadequate, with the result that standards of care on one particular unit, the Kingsdale Unit, deteriorated to unacceptable levels.  As a result, all of the residents on that Unit were exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm, and two women, Mary Smith and Joyce MacDonald, suffered actual harm.  In the case of Joyce MacDonald, the harm was serious (a broken neck). She never recovered and died eight months later. In all of the circumstances, the case is accordingly one of considerable seriousness.”

Full details of the inspection are given in the report published on our website.

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About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.