Care firm fined £40,000 over 80-year-old's choke death

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image captionThe 80-year-old resident of Sutton Court died after choking on her lunch at the home in 2013

A care home has been fined £40,000 and told to pay £120,000 in court costs after an 80-year-old resident choked to death while eating her lunch.

Carmen Barker died at Sutton Court Care Home in Nottinghamshire in July 2013.

Ashmere Care Homes, a family-run firm, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act at an earlier hearing.

The firm apologised and said it had "taken appropriate steps further to improve the systems in place".

A spokesman for Ashfield District Council said: "Carmen Barker, an 80-year-old resident with dementia who had no teeth or dentures, died after being provided with a meal which was not suitable for her needs."

The council said Judge James Sampson found there was "a confused and inconsistent picture of her care, staff had had little or no time to read care plans and no training about food preparation had been provided".

The most recent Care Quality Commission report into the home in October 2016 rated the service at the home as "good" overall.

In a statement, Ashmere Care Homes, which runs three care homes in Nottinghamshire and whose sister company Ashmere Derbyshire Ltd runs seven in Derbyshire, said it had "profound regret for this tragic and unexpected incident".

"This is the first time that Ashmere Care Homes has been the subject of enforcement action of any kind," the firm said.

"Since this sad incident, Ashmere Care Homes have taken appropriate steps further to improve the systems in place and to ensure the safety of residents."

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