Care provider fined as patient dies whilst being restrained

Care provider Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd has been fined £100,000 after being found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

On 10 July 2006, Mr Derek Lovegrove, 38, suffered a cardiac arrest whilst being restrained using an unauthorised technique. It happened at Cedar Vale mental health hospital, a centre for patients with severe challenging behavior.

Mr Lovegrove was registered blind and had 75 per cent deafness in both ears. He was also classed as a high risk patient because he was prone to aggression and violence towards both staff and himself.

Between June 2005, when he first moved to Cedar Vale from Rampton Hospital, and May 2006, there were 95 recorded incidents involving Mr Lovegrove with restraint being applied in 32 cases. The health and safety executive (HSE) found that staff were not adequately trained in first aid or in the use of the defibrillator available at the centre on the day Mr Lovegrove died.

HSE Principal Inspector Frank Lomas said, “The failings of Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd are substantial. They fell far below required standards of care. At the time of this tragic incident the breaches were relatively longstanding and had been the subject of specific warnings, which had not been acted on”.

Victoria Silsbury, Legal Clerk at Swain & Co Solicitors LLP says, “More needs to be done to ensure staff are properly trained to prevent avoidable deaths. I hope that lessons are learnt very quickly across all centres that provide care or support to ensure this does not happen again. ”

Swain & Co are expert in medical negligence, personal injury, mental health and community care law. We provide free initial advice and can be contacted on 02392 483322.