BUPA Care Homes (BNH) Ltd has been fined after an elderly resident of the Hutton Village Nursing Home, which the company operates, died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease.

Three months after moving into the care home in March 2015, Kenneth Ibbetson, 86, contracted a serious waterborne form of pneumonia and died in the hospital shortly after.

The investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident revealed that the health care provider failed to implement the necessary measures required to manage their cold and hot water system. It was also found that persons responsible for overseeing legionella controls in the facility had not been appropriately trained to the required standard.

Speaking after the hearing, Vicky Fletcher, HSE principal inspector said on the subject:

“It is heart-breaking to think Kenneth contracted Legionnaires’ a matter of weeks after moving into the Hutton Village Care Home. His Family have been left devastated by his sudden death.

“Mr Ibbetson and other residents have been exposed to the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease because adequate controls were not in place. The risk is more acute in care home settings because residents are more susceptible to their underlying health conditions. We would expect those who have a duty of care to understand this and have the necessary controls in place to manage the risk.”

BUPA Care Homes (BNH) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching their general duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £3 million and ordered to pay £151,482 in costs.

For more information on control and management of the risk of Legionnaires’ disease:

  • INDG458 – Legionnaires’ disease – a brief guide for dutyholders;
  • L8 – the control of legionella bacteria in water systems approved code of practice; and
  • INDG376 – Essential information for providers of residential accommodation.