Monthly Archives: September 2012

Commissioners of UK’s largest equipment service request CECOPS accreditation for providers

Birmingham has one of the largest health and social care community equipment services in the UK, serving a population of over one million. The service is run jointly between health and social care, and is currently out to tender. CECOPS recently worked with the commissioners to ensure the tender specification included adherence with the Code of Practice as a requirement. As a result the successful Provider MUST be registered with CECOPS and become accredited within one year of being awarded the contract.

A lead commissioner responsible for tendering the equipment service said, “In Birmingham, we found the CECOPS Code of Practice really useful in updating our specification for our recent tender.  It helped to have all the background information in one place and to have a system of quality assurance to demand of providers” Shirley Malloy, Birmingham and Solihull NHS Cluster

Brian Donnelly, CECOPS CEO, says, “We have been approached by several organisations recently asking if they can include CECOPS’ registration and accreditation as a mandatory requirement within their tender specifications. We have also started talking to some Clinical Commissioning Groups about commissioning community disability services. In the light of the recent official endorsements from Care Quality Commission, Association of Directors of Social Services and Health and Safety Executive, with many others to follow, I am certain compliance with the CECOPS Code of Practice will soon be a requirement for every equipment service provider, also extending to clinical staff.”

We would be pleased to work with any commissioning authority (e.g. CCGs) wishing to include the CECOPS Code of Practice as a requirement within a tender specification. Please send queries to

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Care home’s equipment related safety failures led to elderly woman’s death

Another unnecessary equipment related fatality has taken place in a care home setting, again further stressing the need for compliance with the Code of Practice for community equipment.

The owners of a West Yorkshire care home have been told to pay £183,000 in fines and costs after a frail 93 year-old widow died because established safety measures were neglected.

The 93 year-old asphyxiated after becoming trapped in the gap between her mattress and incorrectly-fitted bed safety rails at Aden Court Care Home in Huddersfield on 24 April 2010.

New  Century Care Ltd of Sidcup, Kent, a private company with around 27 UK care homes, was prosecuted for a serious safety breach by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it investigated the incident. Leeds Crown Court was told today on 10 September that the company, which has some 1,700 employees, had failed to train staff at Aden Court to fit bed safety rails.

HSE found also that staff were not trained to carry out regular ‘in-use’ checks to make sure bed rails remained properly adjusted, or to carry out risk assessments for their use.

New Century Care Ltd of River House, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, Kent, was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in costs for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing. Read details in full HERE

CECOPS’ CEO Brian Donnelly comments, “CECOPS recently reported on another equipment related fatality within a care home setting – see HERE. CECOPS have agreed to work with HSE and other key stakeholders to help organisations to be clear about what their equipment related responsibilities are, as set out in the officially recognised Code of Practice.”

HSE recently officially endorsed CECOPS’ Code of Practice and said, “The provision of community equipment is a very important growth area.  HSE recognises the need for guidance, and welcomes the code of practice developed by CECOPS. The code will help organisations who commission or provide community equipment make health and safety improvements in their businesses.”


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PRESS RELEASE: Health and Safety Executive officially endorses CECOPS’ Code of Practice for Community Equipment

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has added its name to the long list of organisations endorsing CECOPS’ Code of Practice, joining other high profile supporters such as Care Quality Commission and the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services, for example.


Brian Donnelly, CECOPS CEO, has welcomed the HSE endorsement and says,

“The official endorsement given by HSE is very timely and is greatly welcomed; this will help us immensely in getting organisations across the UK to register with CECOPS. Having had a close dialogue with HSE over recent years I know they have been aware of the serious problems associated with equipment, and I am delighted they have now endorsed the Code. The endorsement from HSE, along with other regulators, brings an expectation that organisations will work to the Code, so we should see a reduction in serious incidents and fatalities, with an overall improvement in the quality of care where equipment is concerned. We are in the process of setting up a working group with HSE and other key regulators and professional bodies to help organisations in the UK adopt the Code”.


The Health and Safety Executive commented:

“The provision of community equipment is a very important growth area.  HSE recognises the need for guidance, and welcomes the code of practice developed by CECOPS. The code will help organisations who commission or provide community equipment make health and safety improvements in their businesses.”


Sir Bert Massie CBE, CECOPS Chair, says:

“I am very pleased that HSE appreciate the importance of community equipment and recognise that this is an area of significant growth. As an equipment user for many years I am all too familiar with the perils and risks associated with equipment. Having the wrong assessment can sometimes cause more damage than not having an assessment at all. Being provided equipment without any maintenance arrangements really exposes disabled people to significant risk – sometimes even costing them their lives. We will be working closely with HSE in the future to make sure all organisations responsible for commissioning and providing equipment make the necessary health and safety improvements to their services. With many of the main regulators and professional bodies now officially endorsing the Code and expecting organisations to register with CECOPS, we should begin to see improvements in these services.”




Media contacts

For images, interviews with spokespeople or more information please contact or call 01494 863398

Brian Donnelly

Chief Executive


07511 667 330


Notes to editors


The Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme, known as CECOPS, is a not for profit community interest company which has been set up to manage registration, training and accreditation of users of the Code of Practice for community equipment.

The Code of Practice is a recently written handbook. It is essentially a quality framework for the procurement and provision of services. It is primarily aimed at services in England, but also applies to other parts of the UK, and beyond.

CECOPS’ objectives are to assist all public and private sector providers and commissioners in bringing a high quality service to disabled children and adults, including elderly people, by promoting, encouraging adoption of, and providing training on, the Code of Practice for Community Equipment.

In terms of how the Scheme works: organisations, either commissioners or providers (including clinical teams), can register as working to the Code of Practice, as a Full or Associate Registrant, depending on their level of involvement with community equipment. Organisations can self regulate/monitor their own compliance with the Code either manually or with CECOPS recommended software.

In addition, for reasons of credibility ‘Accreditation’ can be sought. Accreditation is optional, and involves external assessment of a registered user’s compliance with the Code of Practice. Assessments for accreditation are undertaken by DNV Healthcare, global leaders in Quality, Safety and Risk Management – DNV are the current assessors for the NHS Litigation Authority and the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark ®

About Community Equipment

Examples of equipment types:

• home nursing, e.g. pressure relieving mattresses, ventilators

• aids for daily living, e.g. shower chairs, kettle tippers

• children’s equipment, e.g. postural support chairs

• sensory impairment equipment, e.g. flashing doorbells

• minor adaptations, e.g. ramps, grab rails

• wheelchairs (short term)

• communication aids

• telecare/telehealth, e.g. environmental aids.

CECOPS activities cover all public and private sector provision and all areas where equipment is used, e.g. health and social care equipment services, continuing healthcare providers, care homes, special schools, domiciliary care providers and hospices.


About Health and Safety Executive:

HSE is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness.

They are an independent regulator and act in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain’s workplaces.

Contact at HSE

Dan Hutley

HM Inspector of Health & Safety

Health & Social Care Services Unit (HSCSU)

Health and Safety Executive

Tel: 01752 276347


Visit HSE here:


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Care Home fined £140,000 for equipment related death

Yet another fatality at a care home through failure to adequately maintain a hoist, and provide suitable training on its use; this further stresses the need for compliance with the Code of Practice for community equipment.

Two nursing home owners have been ordered to pay a total of £140,000 after a pensioner died following a fall from a hoist.

The elderly lady fell while being moved from her bed to a chair at a Nursing Home, in Leicester. The 78-year-old banged her head and died the next day, on July 20, 2008.

Two sisters, who owned the home at the time, admitted breaching health and safety rules by failing to ensure the safety of client.

Leicester Crown Court was told the defective 15-year-old hoist was in such a poor condition it could not be used safely and that it had not been properly inspected regularly.

The hoist sling had a two-year lifespan but had been in use for nine.

Jonathan Salmon, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “This tragic accident was entirely avoidable, foreseeable and, perhaps, the sadness is it wouldn’t have cost vast amounts of money to do what is fairly basic maintenance and provision of appropriate slings.”

The HSE found the nurse and care assistant operating the client’s hoist had limited training in manual handling. They also found an unqualified member of staff had been completing maintenance checks at the home.

Sentencing, Judge Robert Brown told the defendants their provision of care fell “far below” the standards required.

Judge Brown said: “Health and safety must be an overriding duty of any owner of a residential nursing home.

HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said: “With properly-maintained equipment, better training and supervision, this incident was easily preventable.”

The main issues related to this case include failure to inspect and maintain equipment, follow manufacturer’s guidelines and provide training to staff, all of which are comprehensively covered in the Code of Practice for community equipment.

CECOPS’ CEO Brian Donnelly comments, “The failures highlighted in this unfortunate case would have been avoided through adherence to the Code of Practice for community equipment. We hear of such cases on a regular basis and we would urge equipment providers everywhere to adopt our Code of Practice to prevent further incidents like this occurring.”

Read the details in full HERE

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