Following the recent collapse of the trial for corporate manslaughter relating to an NHS Trust (see previous article here), the prosecution of a care home company was successful. Sherwood Rise Limited which was responsible for the management of Autumn Grange Residential Home in Nottingham was fined £30,000 for a corporate manslaughter offence at Nottingham Crown Court on 5 February 2016. The case concerned the death of a resident, Ivy Atkin who died on 22 November 2012.
Yousef Khan, the Director (and Acting Manager) of Sherwood Rise Limited was sentenced to three years and two months after he pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter. In addition, he was disqualified from being a Director for a period of eight years. Mohammed Khan, the individual employed as Manager of the care home was convicted for breaching section 3 (General duties of employers and self-employed persons other than their employees) and section 37 (offences by bodies corporate) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years and was also disqualified from being a Director for five years.
The defendants were found to have failed in their duty of care based on evidence of serious neglect in the provision of personal care, nutrition, accommodation and support to residents. The concerns raised by staff and warnings from external agencies involved were ignored by them. Despite their awareness of the extremely poor standards, the defendants failed to take action to rectify these concerns and ensure that the health and safety of the residents within their care was met. Mrs Atkin is reported to have weighed only 3st 12lbs at the time of her death which was caused by pneumonia. Ultimately, the death of this vulnerable resident was avoidable and was caused by the shocking conditions and neglect she suffered at the home.
This prosecution should send a strong message to those working in the health and social care sector that such incidents will not be tolerated and criminal proceedings will be pursued accordingly. It is also fitting that both of these individuals will not be able to work in healthcare management due to the conviction and having been responsible or privy to serious misconduct under the CQC's fit and proper regime. It would be interesting whether the CQC regard others in the management structure [in addition to the two prosecuted] as being caught by this principle and no longer suitable to be involved in the provision of regulated activity.