Care Home fined after death of resident

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A care provider in Uckfield and their former Registered Manager, who is from Crowborough, have been ordered to pay almost £47,000, following an incident which led to the death of a resident.

Ridgewood Care Services Limited, which runs the care home at the former New Inn in Uckfield, previously pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to Mary Jane Cotton.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court last Friday (31st July), the company was fined £40,00, they were also ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and £5,000 costs. 

Michelle Moyo, 46, of Blackness Road in Crowborough, was the Registered Manager at the New Inn at the time of Ms Cotton’s death, was also prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The court ordered her to pay £1,697 – comprising a £634 fine, £63 victim surcharge and £1,000 costs.

New Inn Uckfield (Google Streetview) CQC logo
Mary Jane Cotton died after failings at the New Inn care home in Uckfield

Mary Jane Cotton Cotton, 56, had diagnosed swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia.

People affected by this condition may experience food entering their lungs, risking infection, or choking. 

A speech and language therapist instructed that Ms Cotton was to be served pureed and moist food, known as a texture D diet, due to her diagnosis. 

However, on 28th February 2017, staff served Ms Cotton a doughnut.

This caused her to choke, leading to her death at the Princess Royal Hospital on 1st March 2017.

The Head of Inspection for Adult Social Care at the CQC, Jemima Burnage said:

This is a distressing case and our sympathies are with those affected by Mary Jane Cotton’s death. 

Ms Cotton had every right to expect safe care at the New Inn.

Ridgewood Care Services has a specific legal duty to ensure care and treatment is provided safely at the home.

They failed to do this by serving Ms Cotton food that was not prepared to mitigate her documented risk of choking.

The New Inn is a care home for people needing nursing or personal care.

It also supports people living with a learning disability.   

Jemima Burnage added:   

The majority of care providers do an excellent job.

However, where we find any provider has put people using its services at risk of harm, we take action to hold them to account and protect people.

We hope this prosecution reminds care providers that they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.

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