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Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution fined after woman seriously injured at Cornwallis Court in Bury St Edmunds

A care provider has been ordered to pay £50,000 after a woman suffered serious injuries at a Bury St Edmunds care home.

The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution was fined at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court today (January 10) following the incident at Cornwallis Court.

The court heard that Avril McCreeth fell at Cornwallis Court on January 10, 2016 and became stuck against a hot pipe, inflicting significant burns to her back.

Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court
Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court

A subsequent Care Quality Commission investigation found the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution – as the provider of the service – 'failed in its duty to implement systems and processes to protect people from hot surfaces, meaning the incident could have been avoided'.

Ms McCreeth has since died. Her death was not linked to injuries suffered at Cornwallis Court.

The care provider pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to a resident of the home.

It was ordered to pay £50,000 plus legal costs.

Jemima Burnage, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said: "Avril McCreeth and her family had every right to expect safe care.

"This is a distressing case and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family.

"While we welcome the fact that the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution accepted responsibility in this case, we would always rather not be in the position of having to take action because vulnerable people have been failed by those providing their care.

"The risk of people sustaining serious burns from uncovered pipes is something all care homes should be aware of.

"We hope this result sends a message to all care home providers that they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.

"When a care provider has put people in its care at serious risk of harm, we will hold them to account, using our powers to bring prosecutions where appropriate."

A spokeswoman for RMBI Care Co said: "RMBI deeply regrets and has accepted responsibility for the accident which related to the unfortunate exposure of a resident to a section of unprotected hot piping in her bathroom.

"Since the accident RMBI Care Co has taken over management of the care homes previously operated by RMBI and has taken all necessary steps to review safety standards at the home and ensure that safety procedures are reviewed on a regular basis.

"The home is currently rated ‘good’ by CQC following the regulator’s last inspection in January 2018. Indeed, all the RMBI Care Co homes are now rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by CQC.

"RMBI Care Co. takes our responsibility for safeguarding our residents extremely seriously and we are committed to providing the highest quality care.

"The safety and welfare of our residents is of paramount importance to us."

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