Four Seasons fined £600,000 over Legionnaires death

Legionella bacteria

Four Seasons Healthcare has been fined £600,000 for safety breaches after a 90-year-old care home resident died from Legionnaires disease.

John Bonser died at Kestrel Lodge on 15 November 2012 after contracting the disease, which is contracted through breathing in bacteria carried in water.

In making his ruling at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said that pressures in health and care funding were no excuse for the company failing to discharge its fundamental purpose of keeping residents safe over a significant period of time.

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Prosecuting for Ashfield District Council, Bernard Thorogood told the Court that Mr Bonser became a resident at the home in August 2012. He was admitted to Kings Mill Hospital on October 29 2012 with Legionnaires disease.

Cllr Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “The Council have worked hard to bring this prosecution to court, and will continue to prosecute those that fail to meet legal standards.”

A Four Seasons spokesperson said: “We deeply regret the death of Mr Bonser, which occurred in 2012, as a result of contracting a Legionella infection while living at Kestrel Lodge.

“We accept that there were repeated failures to manage the implementation of procedures to safeguard people in the home, for which we sincerely apologise.

“The home had engaged a specialist environmental services contactor to maintain the water systems and keep them free from bacteria, but we should have carried out checks to establish their level of technical expertise.

“We have taken this most seriously and have acknowledged our responsibility in court. We have since undertaken a detailed review of the systems, policies and procedures to safeguard the water systems in all our homes and the company has changed to a national specialist provider to carry out its water systems management.”

Kestrel Lodge was closed in September 2016.

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