Care home fined £150,000 following death of resident from Legionnaires’ disease

A care home provider has been fined £150,000 for safety failures which led to the death of a 56-year-old resident from Legionnaires’ disease.

Andy Clegg, who had been living at the Fordingbridge Care Home in Hampshire run by Sentinel Healthcare, died two weeks after he was admitted to Salisbury District Hospital in November 2017.

He had been diagnosed with Legionella pneumonia, a recognised complication arising from exposure to the Legionella bacteria.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) launched a criminal investigation against Sentinel Healthcare, which pleaded guilty to charges of causation of harm and death and the exposure of all other residents at the care home to a risk of harm.

Andy and Matt Clegg in spring 2013 (Family handout/PA)

The home operator was fined £150,000 at Southampton Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay costs of £17,500 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Mr Clegg moved to the care home in April 2017 following issues with his mental health.

His brother, Matt, 50, said: “While three years has passed since Andy’s death, the hurt and pain we continue to feel is as strong now as it was when he died.

“Andy was such a loving and caring man. We have always known that nothing could ever make up for his death but as a family we owed him a duty to find out what happened to him and why.

“His death was hard enough to take but we feel our pain was only added to by the position the company and its managing director Al Donnelly have adopted.

“We tried to raise concerns with the company but felt that there was reluctance for them to accept any responsibility.

“It was only when we asked others to help investigate that we feel our concerns started to be taken seriously, and what happened to Andy started to be established.

“Our only hope now is that Andy’s death reminds Sentinel and other companies of the need to uphold safety standards at all times so others don’t have to suffer like he did.”

Jatinder Paul, of Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who represented Mr Clegg’s family in their civil claim, said:  “It’s vital that all appropriate steps are taken to prevent incidents such as this from reoccurring.”

A spokeswoman for Sentinel Healthcare said: “We accept the findings of the court and apologise wholeheartedly for the events that led to the passing of Mr Clegg.

“Our thoughts remain with his loved ones and we hope that today’s findings offer them some closure.

“While the ultimate responsibility remained with us, the court has noted that we were let down by our advisers and contractors and this contributed to the events which led up to this tragic accident.

“In the three years that have passed since, we have worked tirelessly with all the relevant authorities to make sure nothing like this happens again.

“Our work to improve standards has been recognised in the latest CQC inspection report, which has graded the home as ‘good’ in all areas.”

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