We all know that care providers have a duty of care towards their service users. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are also now assessing services on the basis of whether or not they are “safe, effective, caring responsive and well-led”. Mistakes will always occur, but catastrophic failings should not occur when a service is meeting these standards.
The case highlighted in this article says that poor standards of training and maintenance were responsible for the incident that led to the service user’s death and that the death was therefore avoidable.
It is interesting that this case was brought by CQC, using their powers under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, as previously this might well have been a case pursued by the Health and Safety Executive. CQC have said that they intend to continue exercising these powers going forward. It is also noteworthy that we see the Magistrates Court exercising their new powers to impose unlimited fines, which should speed up the passage of the case through the courts.
As with so much in the care sector, there is no substitute for proper staff training and maintaining of equipment – this case highlights so well the huge potential penalties, both in terms of human and financial cost, of letting standards slip.
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The provider had not ensured staff understood how to safely use the straps or audited equipment effectively, magistrates found. It had therefore not met its duties under regulations in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to ensure care or treatment is provided safely.