A Buckinghamshire based care provider has been fined £2,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment.
The Fremantle Trust was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £7,000 in prosecution costs at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 1 February after pleading guilty to exposing resident, John Widdall, to significant risk of avoidable harm at Lent Rise House in December 2017.
The court heard that Mr Widdall suffered from tetraplegia, which left him at risk of choking on his saliva or other substances.
On arrival, a nursing plan was completed for Mr Widdall which specified that he required oral suctioning, which should only be carried out by trained nursing or care staff.
While visiting on 16 December 2017, his wife found an untrained agency worker attempting to carry out the procedure and intervened to stop this immediately.
The following day, the provider notified CQC about the incident and a decision was taken to prevent the agency worker from working at the home in future. A reminder was also sent to all staff to advise them that certain tasks could only be carried out by appropriately qualified individuals.
There was no evidence that the agency worker involved in the incident had completed an induction or that they had read Mr Widdall’s care plan. Furthermore, they had not been trained by the provider to undertake the suctioning procedure.
Rebecca Bauers, Head of Adult Social Care Inspection in CQC’s south region, said: “As with all care providers, The Fremantle Trust has a legal duty to ensure that care and treatment are provided in a safe way. On this occasion, it failed to do so because it did not ensure that all staff were aware that only appropriately qualified and trained personnel could use the oral suctioning equipment.
“Where we find that a care provider has put people in its care at serious risk of harm, we will always take action to ensure that people are safe and hold providers to account.”
Sara Livadeas, Chief Executive of The Fremantle Trust, said: “We are sorry that this incident involving an agency worker occurred in one of our care homes in December 2017. We want all of our residents to receive the best possible care at all times. We have reviewed our processes to make sure that such an event does not happen again and have also significantly reduced the use of agency staff. I am pleased to say the Lent Rise House is rated Good by CQC on all 5 criteria.”