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Tuesday, 08 November 2016

Hampshire care home fined £80,000 over death of frail pensioner

Written by The Press Association

The family of a disabled grandmother who choked to death at a care home have hit out at its owner after it admitted health and safety offences.

Margaret Humphreys, 84, died during a respite stay at Marlborough House in Church Crookham, Hampshire, while her family, her usual carers, went on holiday.

The frail pensioner had previously suffered a stroke which left her unable to chew large pieces of food, meaning she needed supervision while eating, including having meals cut into small pieces.

Craysell Ltd, which runs the 40-bed home, was fined £80,000 at Winchester Crown Court on Monday after a Heath and Safety Executive prosecution, court staff confirmed.

After the case, Gayle Gunner, Mrs Humphreys' daughter, said: "It is a really difficult decision to leave a relative in respite care, but it's done in the hope that they will get the best quality of care, when the family is in need of respite.

"It is therefore crushing to learn how mum died and we feel that the care home betrayed our trust.

"My family and I are relieved by the hearing's outcome and hope that through this prosecution, valuable lessons have been learned by Marlborough House to ensure no one else loses their loved ones in the same devastating way we did."

Marlborough House was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in September 2014, a month after Mrs Humphreys' death.

The CQC found six breaches of regulations. It took enforcement action over "people's care and welfare, nutrition and the provider's monitoring of the service".

Despite improvements in the intervening period, the home received a "requires improvement" rating in its latest CQC inspection report published in August.

The latest report, published on the CQC's website, found that the service provided at the home was "was not consistently safe" and "was not consistently well-led".

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