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Care company fined for resident's fatal fall at Buckfastleigh home

A nursing home failed to ensure the safety of an elderly, blind, wheelchair-bound resident who died after falling down a flight of stairs.

Patrick Foale, 75, lived at the Redmount Nursing Home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, when the incident happened on 1 November 2010.

Mr. Foale, who was diabetic, fell down the stairs in his wheelchair when he accessed a staircase after a fire door had been left open. He suffered serious face and head injuries and died the next day in Torbay Hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution against Your Health Ltd., the Derbyshire-based owners of the home after investigating the incident. It found the company had failed in its duty to provide a safe environment for him.

The court heard that Mr. Foale, a resident since February 2001 and formerly of Totnes, spent much of his time in his own room on the first floor of the nursing home in Old Totnes Road.

He was capable of moving himself in his wheelchair and was able to move freely around the home, using the passenger lift to go outside for a cigarette at regular intervals throughout the day. However, the nursing home was aware Mr. Foale had deteriorating eyesight and had been suffering periods of disorientation.

Your Health Ltd., of Holford Court, Hearthcote Road, Swadlincote, Derbyshire was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £26,226 in costs.


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