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Care provider fined £460,000 after attack left resident with ‘life changing injuries’

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A care provider has been order to pay £495,170, including a £460,000 fine, after an attack left a resident with ‘life changing facial injuries’.

Lifeways Community Care Limited, which operated Alstone House in Cheltenham Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment after prosecution by the CQC at Cirencester Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how a resident living at Alstone House (referred to as VDC) phoned for an ambulance in March 2017 shortly after the home had been rated Inadequate and had taken the decision to close.

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A paramedic arriving at the home said it was apparent that VDC had recently assaulted two agency workers at the service.

After leaving, the paramedic was called back to the home by staff as VDC had entered another resident’s room and locked them both inside together.

Agency staff tried and failed to break down the door when it became apparent that the other resident (referred to as LM) was being attacked. VDC left the room after 30 minutes. During this time they had physically assaulted LM and left them with life changing facial injuries.

The court heard that a permanent member of staff who knew all the bedroom codes and where the bedroom keys were kept had failed to turn up for work on the evening of the incident.

Agency staff on duty had phoned an on-call manager for support during the incident but when they did not answer they immediately called the police.

Rebecca Bauers, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said: “This was a shocking case and I welcome the guilty plea from Lifeways Community Care Limited.  Regardless of whether a service is closing or not there is an expectation that it must provide the standard of care people have a right to expect, with right levels of staffing at every available opportunity.”

A spokesperson for Lifeways said: “The assault that took place in March 2017 was a tragic event. We take our responsibilities very seriously and work hard to provide high levels of care, however, we accept that we didn’t meet the standards we set for ourselves in this case. When it happened we were open and honest with all concerned, and co-operated fully with the investigation by the CQC and the police. We deeply regret what happened and our thoughts go to those affected by the incident.

“Immediately following this incident we started to introduce significant changes to the way we work with the aim of preventing such an incident happening again, and we committed to continuously reviewing and improving our practices to make sure that the people we support, and our colleagues who support them are kept safe.”

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The author Lee Peart

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