A FORDINGBRIDGE care home has been fined £150,000 after the death of a resident from Legionnaires’ disease.

Andy Clegg, who was a resident at Fordingbridge Care Home in Hampshire, died around two weeks after he was admitted to Salisbury District Hospital.

He had been diagnosed with Legionella Pneumonia, a recognised complication arising from exposure to the Legionella bacteria.

Andy moved into Fordingbridge Care Home in April 2017 following issues with his mental health. However, that October he fell seriously ill and died in November 2017.

Following the 56-year-old’s death his family, including his brother Matt Clegg, instructed public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help them obtain answers as to why Andy died.

The legal experts secured an admission of liability and an undisclosed settlement from Sentinel Healthcare, which runs Fordingbridge Care Home.

The Care Quality Commission launched a criminal investigation against Sentinel Healthcare which pleaded guilty to charges of causation of harm and death to Andy and exposure of all other residents at the care home to a risk of harm.

The home operator was today fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,500 and a victim surcharge of £170 during a sentencing hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

Salisbury Journal:

Andy's brother Matt, 50, said: “While three years has passed since Andy’s death, the hurt and pain we continue to feel is as strong now as it was when he died.

“Andy was such a loving and caring man. It wasn’t an easy decision for him to go into Fordingbridge but we thought in doing so he would receive the best possible care. However, just a few months later he died.

“His death was hard enough to take but we feel our pain was only added to by the position the company and its managing director Al Donnelly have adopted. We tried to raise concerns with the company but felt that there was reluctance for them to accept any responsibility.

“It was only when we asked others to help investigate that we feel our concerns started to be taken seriously and what happened to Andy started to be established."

He added: “Andy was a huge part of our family and we all still miss him every day.

“We have always known that nothing could ever make up for his death but as a family we owed him a duty to find out what happened to him and why.

“While we’re pleased to have secured justice for Andy, we would rather he still be part of our family.

“Our only hope now is that Andy’s death reminds Sentinel and other companies of the need to uphold safety standards at all times so others don’t have to suffer like he did.”

Salisbury Journal:

Jatinder Paul, a Senior Associate Solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who represented Andy’s family in their civil claim and Inquest, said after the hearing: “While more than three years may have passed since Andy’s death his family remain devastated by their loss.

“What has particularly upset the family is Sentinel’s initial reluctance to engage with them. It wasn’t until the public scrutiny of the inquest that the company acknowledged that Andy’s exposure to Legionella bacteria took place at the home, and admitted liability.

“Sadly through our work we are only too aware of the devastating consequences of Legionnaires’ disease and nothing highlights this more than Andy’s death.

“Nothing can ever make up for their loss but we hope that Andy’s family can now try to look to the future the best they can knowing that justice has been done in the criminal prosecution. However, it’s vital that all appropriate steps are taken to prevent incidents such as this from reoccurring.”

A spokesperson for Fordingbridge Care Home said: “We accept the findings of the court and apologise wholeheartedly for the events that led to the passing of Mr Clegg. Our thoughts remain with his loved ones and we hope that today’s findings offer them some closure.

“While the ultimate responsibility remained with us, the court has noted that we were let down by our advisors and contractors, and this contributed to the events which led up to this tragic accident.

"In the three years that have passed since, we have worked tirelessly with all the relevant authorities to make sure nothing like this happens again. Our work to improve standards has been recognised in the latest CQC inspection report, which has graded us as ‘Good’ in all areas”.