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          CQC – off the mark with a high fine!

          Date: 19/08/2016

          A care provider has recently been fined £190,000 and ordered to pay £16,000 in costs after pleading guilty to Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 following the death of a 62-year-old man who broke his neck in a fall from a shower chair at a nursing home.

          The regulations, setting out the 'fundamental standards', were implemented alongside additional powers and make it a criminal offence to fail to comply with Regulation 12(1) where the failure to provide safe care or treatment results in avoidable harm to a service user or exposes a service user to a significant risk of exposure to avoidable harm.

          The regulations took effect on 1 April 2015 and coincided with a transfer of enforcement responsibility for health and safety incidents in the health and social care sector from the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities to the CQC.

          Such a conviction is the first of its kind and demonstrates the CQCs new found powers and their propensity to use prosecution powers when they feel that people are "at risk of harm."

          The maximum penalty for this offence is an unlimited fine and for these offences, Judges will apply the Health and Safety and Corporate Manslaughter Sentencing Guidelines. These new guidelines represent a dramatic sea change in sentencing, as fines have soared by a factor of ten!

          Author: Simon Tingle

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