Home faces £100,000 fine

Euxton Park Care Home
Euxton Park Care Home

A company that runs a care home where an elderly woman choked to death could face a fine of more than £100,000 after it pleaded guilty to breaching a health and safety regulation.

Rita Smith died after she choked on a fish and chip supper at Euxton Park Care Home in Euxton, Chorley.

Mrs Smith, who suffered from the early onset of dementia and motor neurone disease, was given the meal during a film and supper evening at the home, on Wigan Road, Chorley on December 1, 2010.

But the 75-year-old had difficulties swallowing and should only have eaten pureed food supervised by a carer as she was at risk of choking.

The Health and Safety Executive brought criminal proceedings against Four Seasons Health Care (England) Ltd, the UK’s biggest care home provider, which appeared before Preston Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The firm, which runs more than 500 UK care homes and specialist centres, admitted a charge of breaching a general duty to someone other than an employee by failing to ensure people were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, namely the risk of choking.

However, a trial of issue will be held before the firm is sentenced, to agree the basis on which they have pleaded guilty.

District Judge Jane Goodwin said: “I have come to a firm conclusion this matter will be dealt with at the Crown Court.”

She committed the case to Preston Crown Court to be heard on December 2.