Care provider fined after vulnerable woman suffers avoidable harm at Essex home

Published: 29 June 2021 Page last updated: 29 June 2021

A care provider has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 after an 87-year-old woman suffered avoidable harm at its nursing home.

Lanemile Limited, which runs Haven Lodge, Clacton-on-Sea, was fined £80,000 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday 24 June). It was also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge.

Lanemile previously pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to Sylvia Macknay at Haven Lodge, which caused her avoidable harm. This criminal offence was prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which was awarded its £17,000 costs.

Mary Cridge, CQC deputy chief inspector for adult social care, said:

“This is a distressing case and I welcome Lanemile’s guilty plea. “Sylvia Macknay had every right to expect safe care at Haven Lodge, but Lanemile failed in its specific legal duty to protect her from avoidable harm.

“The majority of care providers do an excellent job. However, when a provider puts people in its care at risk, we take action to hold it to account and protect people.

“I hope this prosecution reminds care providers they must always take all reasonable steps to manage risks to people’s safety.”

In June 2016, Mrs Macknay suffered a stroke in her own home. She was admitted to hospital where, as part of her care, she was catheterised.

After eleven weeks, Mrs Macknay’s condition had improved enough for her to be discharged to Haven Lodge for nursing care. However, she remained reliant on a catheter.

A fortnight later, on 3 September, Mrs Macknay’s daughter visited the home. She found her mother semi-conscious in bed, in considerable distress and calling for help.

She alerted staff who found Mrs Macknay’s catheter was blocked.

Mrs Macknay was subsequently transferred to Colchester General Hospital where, sadly, she died the same day. Urinary sepsis associated with the catheter was cited as a cause of her death.

A CQC investigation found serious failings in Lanemile’s care of Mrs Macknay, including a lack of appropriate assessment before it admitted her to Haven Lodge.

Following her admission, Mrs Macknay’s safety was threatened by gaps in staff training and poor communication. Lanemile expected its carers to escalate concerns to its nurses, however carers were not trained in catheter care so could not identify problems before they worsened.

Lanemile had also not ensured a process to monitor how much fluid Mrs Macknay received through a feeding tube, or whether this corresponded with urine collected in her catheter bag.

Mrs Macknay’s safety was further risked because the home’s plan for her care lacked detail and accuracy. Records referred to her by the wrong name and stated she should be encouraged to drink over a litre a day, when she was nil-by-mouth.

All these failings were avoidable. Consequently, Lanemile admitted it failed in its statutory responsibility to provide safe care and treatment to Mrs Macknay, resulting in her suffering avoidable harm.

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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.