Page last updated at 21:32 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Home fined over resident's death

Maisie Jones
Maisie Jones fell from a first floor window

The owners of an Oxford care home have been fined 80,000 following the death of an 82-year-old woman with dementia.

Southern Cross Healthcare Limited pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations after Maisie Jones fell from a first floor window.

The incident happened in June 2003 at the Brookfield Christian Care Home in Greater Leys.

In a statement the company said a risk assessment had been carried out and it had upgraded its window security.

Ms Jones's daughter Diana Egan said: "They knew she had a tendency to wander and want to get out. For the windows not to be safe was amazing really.

"I'm very disappointed in the way they cared for my mum and I hope they've learned their lesson and it won't happen for anyone else.

"They charge an awful lot of money so not to fix a window lock with a screw - is unforgiveable really."

Diana Egan
Ms Egan said the lapse in security on the window was unforgiveable

A spokesperson for Southern Cross Healthcare said: "Following Maisie's death, we implemented robust risk assessments in all of our homes".

This resulted in a new type of 'Jack Lock' restrictor being fitted to windows in every one of its care homes throughout the UK.

"On-going risk assessments continue to be carried out monthly in all our homes," the statement added.

The company offered its condolences to Ms Jones's family.

The case was heard at Oxford Crown Court and the prosecution was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The firm faced two charges under different parts of health and safety law.

'Too common'

HSE inspector Stephen Hanson-Hall said: "This tragic loss of life was preventable and resulted from a failure to control a well-recognised hazard and could have been avoided at minimal cost to the company.

"This was an entirely preventable incident which resulted from a failure to control a well-recognised hazard.

"Sadly, in the nursing and care home sector this is a far too common cause of injury and death.

"It has also emphasised the need to provide adequate training for staff in recognising such hazards where vulnerable service users are present."

The HSE added that since this incident it recognised that Southern Cross Healthcare Ltd made significant changes to its health and safety systems to try to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

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