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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Significant Safeguarding Concerns over three Sussex Healthcare homes as CQC slaps an 'Inadequat

Ten months after investigators went into nine residential homes belonging to crisis-hit Sussex Healthcare group, the care regulator has slapped a second ‘Inadequate’ notice on one of the homes, Orchard Lodge. And the local authority has issued a warning notice about three SHC homes and named all nine that have been under investigation since last summer when Sussex Police launched an inquiry into deaths at the group.

Warnings over an incident, which happened subsequent to the long-standing inquiries, sent the inspectors into Orchard Lodge once again. According to the report: ‘This inspection was brought forward due to concerns shared with the Commission from the local authority safeguarding team. The concerns were regarding how a person was supported when they became acutely unwell prior to their admission to hospital. Our inspection did not examine the specifics of this incident and the allegation.’

At the same time as the regulator issued its ‘Inadequate’ notice, the local authority, West Sussex, said it has ‘significant safeguarding concerns’ over three SHC homes:

Orchard Lodge,

The Laurels and

Rapkyns Nursing Home.

All three are based just outside Horsham, two on the same ‘care village’ site.

The Care Quality Commission’s inspectors said Orchard Lodge is inadequate in terms of safety and management and required improvement in all other areas – including caring. And the CQC maintained: ‘Had the provider applied to register Orchard Lodge today, the application would be unlikely to be granted. The model and scale of care provided is not in keeping with the cultural and professional changes to how services for people with a learning disability and/or Autism should be operated to meet their needs.’

The inspection team was critical of the isolated location of Orchard Lodge, which offers residents little opportunity to engage with the local community. And they raised concerns over the attitude of staff to the residents, most of whom are living with disability or learning difficulties: ‘At this inspection we observed occasions where staff failed to demonstrate a caring approach and did not give due consideration and respect for people's dignity.’

Worryingly, the CQC identified new causes for concern. It added: ‘Shortly after the inspection we wrote to the provider. We informed them despite some improvements the Commission remained significantly concerned about some areas of care which had yet to improve and highlighted some new potential risks for people living at the home. The provider had failed to highlight the new concerns prior to this inspection.

See here for more.

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