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£10,000 fine over patient’s death

16 October 2008

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Managers of a mental healthcare centre in Birmingham have been fined £10,000 with £10,000 costs after an elderly man died in a bath of near-boiling water.

George Inwood died in 2004 from scalding to 25% of his body at the Yardley Fields centre in Sheldon, which is run by the Servol Community Trust.

The trust had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Mr Inwood, 68, was only at the centre for a short stay when a faulty thermostat in the immersion heater allowed the water in his bath to overheat to 95 degrees. He had locked himself in the bathroom and staff had to break in, but could not save him.

Sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Philip Parker said Mr Inwood’s death had been “an accident waiting to happen”, adding that it was “a dangerous trap for anyone who might seek to run the bath, let alone for someone with Mr Inwood’s disadvantages”.

Councillor Neil Eustace, chairman of the public protection committee, said: “Protection of vulnerable members of the public is an important duty under health and safety legislation.”

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, which placed Mr Inwood at the centre, had already been fined £25,000 at a previous hearing.

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