Reading care home provider ordered to pay £51,049.60 after failing to provide safe care and treatment

Page last updated: 18 February 2022

A care provider has been ordered to pay £51,049.60 at Reading Magistrates’ Court, after it failed to protect a resident from avoidable harm.

Mulberry Care Limited, in Reading, Berkshire, was fined £40,000 in court on Thursday 17 February 2022. It was also ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge and £10,868.60 costs to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which brought this prosecution.

Mulberry Care Limited is a residential care home providing personal care to people aged 65 and over, who may have dementia.

On 26 July 2019, maintenance work was carried out in the home. As part of this, a door was removed and left against a wall in a communal hallway.

Two months later, on 8 September, Joyce Hayward, a resident who suffered from dementia and osteoporosis, and was known to be at risk of falling, was found on the floor with the door on top of her. She was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and diagnosed with a hip fracture which required surgery. Sadly, she died at the hospital on 19 September 2019.

As the registered provider, Mulberry Care Limited has a legal duty to ensure people using the service are provided with safe care and treatment. This means ensuring that any risks to health and safety are assessed and mitigated to protect people who live in the service.

The evidence was that Mulberry Care Limited decided to leave the door where it had been left by builders, rather than moving it to a safe place. The door could easily have been moved to an area where it would not have posed a risk to vulnerable people in the home.

Mulberry Care Limited pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to Joyce Hayward, resulting in her being caused avoidable harm.

Rebecca Bauers, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said:

“Our sympathies are with those affected by the sad passing of Joyce Hayward.

“She had the right to expect to be kept safe while living in and receiving care from Mulberry Care Limited, but in this case the provider failed in its legal duty to protect her from being exposed to significant harm.

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

“I hope the outcome of this prosecution reminds care providers of their duty to assess and manage all risks, including environmental risks, to ensure people are kept safe”

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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.