CQC drops prosecution over care home Covid deaths

A prosecution over 11 deaths at a care home in Sidmouth, Devon has been dropped by the CQC due to a lack of evidence.

The CQC said a criminal investigation had revealed the provider at Vale View Heights, formerly known as Holmesley Nursing Home, had Covid-19 processes and policies in place at the time of the outbreak in 2021.

The regulator added: “CQC became aware of concerns regarding staff compliance with Covid-19 protocols, among other issues at the time. We investigated these concerns thoroughly to ascertain whether there was any further regulatory action that needed to be taken. However, CQC doesn’t have legal powers to prosecute individual staff failures – only against failings at provider level or from the registered manager.

“When CQC investigated whether the former registered manager was ensuring that individual staff were complying with these policies and processes, there was not enough evidence to support a prosecution for this.”

A coroner’s inquest into the deaths is expected in the autumn.

A police investigation was carried out in early 2021. A woman, 57, from Sidmouth, and a man, 30, from Exeter, were arrested on suspicion of wilful neglect in March 2021 but no further action was taken.

The CQC added: “We have taken steps to contact all of the affected families and appreciate they will be disappointed that CQC has been unable to pursue a prosecution in this case.”

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