Huge fine for care home after resident falls out of window

The Mountfield Care home is being revamped. .Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mountfield care home, where a resident fell from a first floor window - Credit: Archant

A care provider has been fined £100,000 for failing to prevent a 70-year-old resident from falling out of one of its windows.

A man suffered head, hand and leg injuries after falling from a first-floor window of Mountfield care home in Norwich in October 2020.

He was found in the grounds of the care home nursing his injuries where it emerged he had left the home via a window.

An investigation into the incident found that restrictors installed to prevent people from being able to climb out of or fall through windows were not fit for purpose.

It found the restrictors could be easily overridden manually, could be opened without a key and did not comply with safety standards expected of care providers. These have now been replaced.

Norse Care's newly refurbished and improved Mountfield care home, Millcroft, off St Clements Hill. N

Norse Care's newly refurbished and improved Mountfield care home, Millcroft, off St Clements Hill. Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

However, the incident resulted in Norse Care, the company which runs the home in Millcroft, off St Clements Hill in the north of the city, being criminally prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

At a sentencing hearing held in Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Thursday, the provider was ordered to pay more than £100,000 in fines and various legal charges.

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It came after the provider pleaded guilty to putting people at risk of avoidable harm due to the unsafety of the windows.

Louise Broddle, head of adult social care inspection at the CQC, said: "People receiving care have a right to expect they are safe and well-protected and that any risks to their health and wellbeing are well-managed.

"In this case, Norse Care didn't take all the necessary steps to ensure its residents' safety. This resulted in somebody being hurt and other people at the service being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm. This is unacceptable."

The home was most recently inspected by the CQC in April 2021 and was rated as requiring improvement - the second-lowest available.

A spokesman for Norse Care said: "We deeply regret the incident and the injuries the resident sustained and have sincerely apologised to the family 

"An inspection of all our care home windows has taken place, with all locks replaced with more robust fittings and a thorough system of checks established."

Norse Care was fined £100,000 for the incident, ordered to pay the CQC's £11,000 legal cost and pay a £170 victim surcharge.