William Eichler 10 December 2019

Council fined £500,000 after death of woman with dementia

A council has been fined half a million pounds and has apologised following the death at one of their care homes of a woman with dementia.

Audrey Allen, 80, died in hospital a month after falling over at The Grange, in Eckington, Derbyshire, in March 2016.

Derbyshire County Council admitted at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court that they had failed to provide safe care.

The first local authority to be prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the council apologised ‘wholeheartedly for the failings that caused her death.’

‘In this case, our actions fell below the high standards that we expect of ourselves and we are truly sorry for what happened,’ said council leader Barry Lewis.

‘The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority and we have worked extremely hard to address the issues involved in this tragic case.’

The court heard that the council did not have an up-to-date falls policy and an assessment of Mrs Allen's needs had not been made.

There was also a shortage of senior staff due to restructuring by the local authority.

Cllr Lewis said that the council had implemented a number of changes ‘to ensure this can't happen again’, including reviewing and revising our falls policy.

Derbyshire CC has also established a Quality and Improvement Board to oversee the delivery of a quality improvement plan.

‘Three years on we continue to build on the progress we've made and a recent independent inspection of the home found evidence of improvements in the recording of falls and the admission process,’ Cllr Lewis continued.

‘We continue to work to improve our processes to ensure that we meet the high standards that people rightly expect of us and that residents are safe in our care.’

Photo: © Andrew Loughran

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