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Waitrose criticised for response to fall injury

Waitrose has been criticised for its response to an injury suffered by a woman who fell in the Moorbridge Road store.

Patricia Knowles fractured her left knee cap in three places when she slipped on a blueberry in June 2016.

She received a £50 gift card following the incident.

Her husband, Ray, 66, said the £50 voucher ‘isn’t even enough to cover the car parking at the hospital and the jeans she had cut off her’.

Patricia works in hospitality in the Holiday Inn in Maidenhead and Ray said she was off work for about six months.

Ray, who is a self-employed plumber, said he had to turn down work to look after Patricia.

He said: “It’s changed our life. It’s changed my wife’s life.”

Since the accident, Ray and Patricia have pursued a compensation claim, but Waitrose owner John Lewis & Partners denies liability.

John Lewis legal representatives wrote in October 2016 that ‘liability is firmly denied’ and ‘there is no evidence of negligence and/or breach of statutory duty on the part of our clients’.

The letter also said: “All members of staff are trained in clean as you go and trained to be vigilant regarding spillages and potential hazards in-store at all times.”

It also stated that ‘no records of inspection are kept, as this would make the task ‘unnecessarily bureaucratic’ but that the duty manager confirmed ‘there were no reportable hazards’ when she was in the area 15 minutes prior to Patricia’s fall.

A letter from Keoghs solicitors to Ray and Patricia, sent in August 2018, states that Waitrose carries out hourly floor walk inspections.

Ray said: “They’re saying that because Waitrose have got a ‘clean as you go policy’, that that’s sufficient, and I can’t take them to court because I haven’t got the money. If I lose it will cost me £25,000.”

A spokeswoman for Waitrose said the store was sorry Patricia was injured and added: “We make every effort to ensure that customers are safe while visiting our stores, which includes high standards of cleanliness and regular floor inspections.”

She reiterated that Waitrose’s insurers had concluded it had ‘acted correctly, making all necessary inspections’ and ‘could not have reasonably done more’ to prevent the fall.

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