Mary King, a carer working for Options for Supported Living was stabbed in the neck by a resident at Fulwood Care Ltd, while meeting with the resident to discuss moving them to another service. Options for Supported Living is an agency which supports people suffering with mental health issues.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Ms King was not trained to deal with such residents yet she was left alone in a kitchen with the resident. The instructions in the care plan stated that no less than two carers should be left with the resident. Past examples of aggressive and violent behaviour were attributed to the patient.
Liverpool Crown Court heard Ms King, who was not trained to deal with such residents, was left alone in the kitchen with the resident against instructions left in a care plan, which described clear examples of violence and aggression.
The plan stated that no less than two carers should be left with the resident at any time.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the case and said in a statement “While the employee made a physical recovery, she has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and long-term psychological trauma and is still receiving counselling.”
This incident took place on the 2nd November 2014 and resulted in years of investigation which finally concluded in court this morning with Fulwood Care Ltd, Option for Supported Living and the agency’s manager Marie Binns convicted of breaching health and safety legislation. Investigators for the HSE found that there were risk assessments and care plans in place from the NHS, Fulwood Care Limited and Liverpool Council all of which indicated that the individual was of a high risk to themselves and others. Neither Options for Supported Living nor Fulwood Care Limited took account of these documents before the visits by Options for Supported Living.
It was also discovered that specific training and a full risk assessment for the individual were not undertaken by Options for Supported Living so as to assess and identify triggers for aggression and violence and how such risks could be managed. The investigation found that there was a need for 2:1 supervision, triggers should have been highlighted and copies of all documents should have been distributed to Options for Supported Living employees.
Options for Supported Living Ltd of St Nicholas House, Old Church Yard, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £31,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 towards costs.
Fulwood Care Ltd of Ampthill Road, Aigburth, Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 towards costs.
Marie Binns of Queens Drive, West Derby, Liverpool accepted a formal caution with regard to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
HSE inspector, Rose Leese-Weller, said after the hearing: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the individual in care may not have reacted the way they did, and life changing injuries sustained and trauma experienced by the Options employee could have been prevented.”