HC-One has been fined £45,000 after a 72-year-old was burned by a portable heater at Elmwood Nursing Home in Croydon.

The fine was issued along with £14,500 in costs following a prosecution brought by the CQC at Camberwell Magistrates Court.

Debbie Ivanova, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of adult social care, said: “This painful injury could have been avoided if HC-One Limited had taken responsibility to protect the people in their care.

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“The risk of older people sustaining serious burns from hot surfaces is something all care homes should be aware of, but the provider failed to ensure that a suitable risk assessment was carried out for the use of the heater in Ms Dunkley’s room – and as a result she was seriously burned.

“When serious incidents occur, we now have the powers to prosecute those who are responsible. If we find that a care provider has put people in its care at risk of harm, we will always consider using those powers to hold them to account in the courts.”

A spokesperson for HC-One said: “We are very sorry for the mistakes that led to a resident at our home sustaining an injury in March 2016, and we have apologised personally to the resident involved and her family.

“This accident was the result of the health and safety systems we have in place being incorrectly followed. In our own investigations, completed immediately after the original accident, we recognised and documented where things went wrong and have made sure we have learnt these lessons. We have now removed the type of heater involved from all of our homes, and the staff involved in this accident no longer work for our company. We are confident that this type of accident will never happen again in any of our homes.

“We are working closely with the CQC and the local authority to make sure the home continues to improve. The new team at the home is working together to deliver the kindest possible care, which is our absolute focus and priority at all times.”

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The author Lee Peart

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