• Sarah Whitebloom

Damning report finds residents were assaulted at Sussex Health Care home


In a damning report, published in the last couple of days, Care Quality Commission inspectors found staff at The Laurels care home in Horsham witnessed disabled residents being physically assaulted by an out-of-control fellow resident. Staff at the Sussex Health Care home admitted they had been unable to manage the individual. But, instead of following correct procedures, the manager failed to notify the authorities of the injuries or the incidents, which involved extremely vulnerable residents. As a result, the Local Authority did not carry out essential investigations and safeguarding procedures.

The Laurels is one of several homes at the Rapkyns Care Village, which is at the centre of inquiries into Sussex Health Care. The group, which is controlled by two Jersey-registered companies owned by businessmen Shiraz Boghani and Shafik Sachedina, is under investigation by Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and the CQC - as OLM reported last weekend. The Laurels is one of two homes for adults with physical and learning difficulties which have been 'named' by WSCC because of significant safeguarding concerns. The Local Authority has also banned placements in several Sussex group homes.

The CQC's report is the first 'snap shot' of what was going on in The Laurels, which previously was awarded a 'Good' recommendation by the regulator. That has now been changed to a 'Requires Improvement' notice and the home's management has been described as 'Inadequate' in the CQC's highly-critical report. According to the Inspectors, who launched a surprise inspection of The Laurels in May: the service 'was not always safe', 'not always effective' and 'not well led'.

Inspectors say: 'In six incidents, a person using the service had been seen by staff physically assaulting other people who used the service. In one incident, care staff had recorded unexplained bruising on a person's arms. The home manager should have informed the local authority's safeguarding adult's team and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of these possible safeguarding concerns. This would have enabled an independent investigation of the incidents to ensure people using the service were cared for safely.'

According to the CQC: 'Whilst some incidents had been reported, other incidents, such as verbal abuse, intimidation and physical abuse between people, had not been identified...there was no evidence of these injuries being followed up on to ensure injuries had healed.'

The report further states: 'We found serious concerns with care and support delivery at the home that necessitated several referrals to the local authority safeguarding teams to ensure people's safety. These shortfalls had not been identified by the current management team. The provider had not notified the Care Quality Commission of incidents which they needed to tell us about.'

In a further worrying admission, the CQC said the home was aware of problems: 'The majority of the incidents involving people being harmed involved the same person who also lived at the service. Following the inspection the nominated individual provided additional evidence that demonstrated they recognised they were unable to meet the person's needs.'

Meanwhile, the CQC admits in the report that 'the inspection was bought forward as we had been made aware that following the identification of significant risks relating to people's care, the service had been subject to a period of increased monitoring and support by [WSCC] commissioners.'

It also goes on to highlight poor procedures and say: 'The service had been the subject of eight safeguarding investigations by social services....However, despite these improvements and measures being in place, we identified a number of further risks, which were not appropriately managed and found four breaches of the Regulations of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009.'

The CQC has ordered the care provider, one of Sussex Health Care's offshore registered ownership vehicles, to take urgent action to remedy shortcomings and the regulator pledges to check to see if the action has taken place. For more information see the previous blog and background:

https://www.olderlivingmatters.net/sussex-health-care


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