POLICE PROBE SUSSEX HEALTH CARE CONCERNS
Sussex Police and care regulators are urgently investigating concerns over residents in homes owned by the burgeoning Sussex Health Care group. The 19-strong care homes enterprise is owned and led by award-winning hotelier Shiraz Boghani and Shafik Sachedina, a dentist-cum-company director.
Hundreds of residents with physical and learning disabilities, older people and dementia sufferers are cared for in the group's homes.
In a statement, Sussex Police said: 'We are working with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) as part of the multi-agency team investigating safeguarding concerns...No arrests have been made at this time. Our enquiries are at an early stage. We are not currently providing further information.'
As part of this multi-agency approach, the Care Quality Commission, the UK's leading care regulator, has launched investigations into six Sussex Health Care homes, which care for some 200 residents, including adults with disabilities, neurological conditions, older people and dementia sufferers. Inspectors are expected to probe further homes. According to the CQC: 'We have also brought forward inspections of other services operated by this provider, where concerns have been brought to our attention, to ensure people are receiving safe, high quality and compassionate care.'
CQC inspection teams have already gone into: The Laurels, Rapkyns Nursing Home and Rapkyns Care Centre, all on the same site at Broadbridge Heath, just outside Horsham. The concerns also prompted snap inspections of Orchard Lodge, in the nearby village of Warnham along with Woodhurst Lodge in Pease Pottage and Longfield Manor in Billingshurst. A recent CQC report into the group's Upper Mead home in Henfield was 'Good'. But a report last year into Rapkyns Care Centre, one of the homes at the centre of enquiries, was highly-critical. for more details see https://www.olderlivingmatters.net/sussex-health-care.
It is understood WSCC has slapped safeguarding orders on some residents and has banned new Local Authority placements at certain Sussex group homes. The Local Authority has taken the very unusual step of publishing the names of Orchard Lodge and The Laurels, where it has 'significant safeguarding concerns'. It is also advising other authorities of its action but it has not removed existing residents. WSCC said it is also offering advice and support to self-funding residents and relatives.
Police enquiries could last up to 18 months. But the CQC will report as soon as it is ready, according to a spokesperson. Sussex Health Care has made no response to phone calls or emails.