Care home's mouse dropping fine goes to appeal court

Care home bosses are set to appeal against a £105,000 punishment imposed after mouse droppings were found at several locations within their establishment.

Friday, 13th July 2018, 12:38 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:14 pm
The Acorns Care Centre
The Acorns Care Centre

Borough magistrates heavily penalised Acorn Care Centre, in Hindley, after inspections by council environmental health staff in May 2017.

Earlier they were told inspectors were drafted in after a whistleblower complained to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) about the state of the premises.

But now it has emerged Acorn’s management has appealed against the sentence to Bolton Crown Court.

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Court officials have confirmed a preliminary hearing has taken place and the appeal will be heard on August 24. Magistrates chairman Anthony Mill said at the last hearing that the condition of the Parkside home had caused a “high risk of harm” to “extremely vulnerable residents”.

The court heard mouse droppings and gnawed woodwork were found at several locations at the home by inspectors during checks carried out in the kitchen, dining room and residents’ rooms.

Food storage containers, food preparation areas, salt and pepper cellars and equipment drawers were all affected, according to prosecutors.

Further checks behind fridges and freezers uncovered more evidence of droppings.

Inadequate refuse arrangements had contributed to the problem, it was said.

The home had been repeatedly warned by the environmental health department over hygiene standards.

A temporary prohibition order was imposed on the kitchen and dining room and food was brought in from another site.

But this restriction was lifted a few days later after a deep clean took place.

Guilty pleas were entered to five contraventions of food safety and hygiene regulations and the firm was also ordered to pay £1,900 in court costs.

Last November the CQC visited Acorn and later rated it as inadequate - the second time it had been placed in special measures by the regulator.

The operators brought in consultants Caresolve, in a bid to turn around the home, in the wake of the case.

Ben Challinor, of Caresolve, said: “Issues raised in this case date back to a time prior to our engagement.

“However, we are now confident any failings have been fully addressed, with safeguards implemented to ensure they do not re-arise in future.”