Bupa slammed over failings that led to grandfather dying

Bupa is fined £3million over ‘significant and serious’ failings that led to grandfather, 86, dying of Legionnaires’ disease at £1,000-a-week care home

  • Kenneth Ibbetson died 12 weeks after moving into Hutton Village Care Home  
  • Legionnaires’ disease concerns raised at the home three years before his death 
  • Health firm fined £3million after it emerged home manager was not trained 
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Health care giant Bupa was today fined a whopping £3million after a beloved granddad fatally caught Legionnaires’ disease at a £1,000-a-week care home.

Subsidiary Bupa Care Homes BNH was slapped with the hefty penalty at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting ‘significant and serious’ health and safety failings following the death of Kenneth Ibbetson.

The retired businessman had moved into the facility aged 86 just 12 weeks before he caught the deadly disease at Hutton Village Care Home, in Essex, where it was later found records had been falsified, warnings not acted upon and the manager was not trained. 

The retired businessman – pictured with his wife, Marjorie – had moved into the facility aged 86 just 12 weeks before he caught the deadly disease

He caught the deadly disease at Hutton Village Care Home (pictured), in Essex, where it was later found records had been falsified

Kenneth’s daughters  Elaine Ward, Val Manning and Caroline Peters are pictured outside Ipswich Crown Court today 

Mr Ibbetson’s family said they were robbed of his twilight years after painstakingly choosing what they thought was the perfect place for him back in 2015.

Instead they were forced to watch him die after failures to monitor and flush the water system allowed the deadly bacteria to develop – despite concerns raised in 2012.

Today they revealed they have launched a civil case against the multi-national and will fight on for compensation.

Mr Ibbetson’s daughter, 54-year-old Caroline Peters, said: ‘It is almost three years since our father contracted Legionnaires’ disease from his bathroom and Hutton Village nursing home.

‘Today Bupa were finally bought to justice by the excellence of the British legal system.

Mr Ibbetson – pictured with his granddaughter Sarah Manning – died at the home, which prosecutors said enlisted staff who had not been trained properly 

The deadly waterborne bacteria infected Kenneth Ibbetson just 12 weeks after he moved into Hutton Village Care Home (pictured)

‘The sentence imposed and the £3million fine will not bring our father back, but with the hard work of everyone involved Bupa are now facing the consequences of its failings.

‘We would like to thank the team that bought the prosecution to its conclusion, ultimately we hope it will prevent another family having to suffer a needless tragedy.’

Judge Emma Peters blasted the firm for its lack of training, oversight, and failure to flush a plumbing system.

She slammed Bupa for ‘significant and serious’ failings which meant that Legionnaires’ concerns raised in 2012 were not acted upon for three years.

Caroline Peters (left) said her father entered the home with his twilight years ahead of him but died within weeks (pictured, middle, Mr Ibbetson’s daughter Vallerie Manning and, right, his daughter Elaine Ward)  


Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia that causes lung inflammation.

It is caused by a bacterium, known as Legionella.

Around 500 people in the UK and 6,100 in the US suffer every year.  

The condition can cause life-threatening complications, including respiratory failure, kidney failure and septic shock, which occurs when blood flow to the vital organs is blocked.

Most sufferers become ill by inhaling tiny water droplets from infected sources, such as shower heads, hot tubs, swimming pools or ventilation systems in buildings.

Anyone can become infected, however, at-risk people include the elderly, smokers and those with suppressed immune systems, such as chemotherapy patients.

Symptoms usually develop between two and 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Early signs include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever and chills

People may then experience:

  • Cough, which may bring up blood
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Confusion 

Treatment is antibiotics, usually in hospital, as soon as possible.  

Prevention involves meticulous cleaning and disinfection of water systems.

People can reduce their risk by not smoking as this damages the lungs and makes individuals more susceptible. 

Source: Mayo Clinic 

In her lengthy sentencing she highlighted that records were falsified, warnings were not acted on and the home’s manager was not trained.

This coupled with a refurbishment meant the disease was able to develop in the hot water system.

Judge Peters also revealed that other care homes suffered from the same oversight problems – but changes have now been made.

‘In March 2015 Kenneth Ibbetson an 86-year-old man from a loving supportive family moved into Hutton Village Care Home run by Bupa Care Homes BNH limited,’ she said.

‘Just 12 weeks later he died of Legionnaire’s disease that resulted in an investigation by the HSE which brought a prosecution against Bupa Care Home to which they pleaded guilty.

‘There is no dispute he caught that disease at Hutton Village likely it came from an aerosol of the disease from his hot tap.

‘They failed in both the duties they owed to the residents of the care home and in particular Mr Ibbetson.

‘In a high-risk environment in the provision of care homes to have systems that don’t check up on untrained managers it’s not on in my view a system that discharges its duty.

‘No one had a grasp of Legionnaires’ risk at Hutton Village and no one understood fully or completely the system.

‘I suspect the level of remorse in the company is real, but this has not been well conveyed by the company.’

His youngest daughter Ms Peters revealed the ‘terrible shock’ of her father’s death earlier in the proceedings.

Speaking in court she said: ‘I am shocked and saddened that a company such as Bupa can show absolutely no regard and compassion right across the spectrum, from the management at the nursing home right through to the highest level of authority.

‘My father walked into the nursing home as an elderly gentleman with his twilight years ahead of him. Within twelve weeks he was dead.’

Mr Ibbetson – pictured dancing with his wife Marjorie – was infected at the Essex home and died within weeks of moving in 

Bupa was also slapped with costs of £151,482. Joan Elliott, Managing Director for Bupa Care Services, said: ‘Our thoughts are with Mr Ibbetson’s family and friends, and we are deeply sorry.

‘Our residents’ wellbeing always comes first. We’ve made a number of improvements across all of our care homes to make sure colleagues’ training is kept up to date, this is important to offering the best care for our residents.’ 

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