A care home provider is being prosecuted after an elderly resident choked to death on fish and chips.
Rita Smith, who suffered from the early onset of dementia and motor neurone disease, was given fish and chips during a film and supper evening at Euxton Park Care Home, near Chorley on December 1, 2010.
But the 75-year-old had difficulties swallowing and should only have eaten pureed food supervised by a carer as she was at risk of choking.
The Health and Safety Executive is now bringing criminal proceedings against Four Seasons Health Care (England) Ltd, the UK’s biggest care home provider.
The firm, which runs more than 500 care homes and specialist care centres in the UK, has been charged with breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Four Seasons, which is based in Douglas, Isle of Man, was expected to appear before Preston Magistrates’ Court today.
A spokesman for Euxton Park Care Home , in Wigan Road, said: “Mrs Smith’s death was a tragic loss. Our thoughts and sympathies go out again to her family at this time. It was also deeply distressing for the staff who cared for her.
“We accept that being offered solid food led to her death. We are deeply sorry for the errors that ultimately led to this terrible accident. It is poignant that it occurred as a result of well-intentioned staff providing an evening’s entertainment and a treat for residents.
“As a result of this incident we have made changes to improve risk management and reporting relating to diet. However, it is our view that this tragedy was the result of human error, for which we must accept responsibility.”