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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Sussex Healthcare: Can it get any worse? ...Yes.

Just when it seemed things could not get any worse at crisis-hit Sussex Healthcare, they do. With the police announcing nearly a year ago that they are investigating 12 deaths and local authority all over the group ever since, the care enterprise would have been expected to improve its game. But no. A new ‘Inadequate’ notice has been slapped on one of the group’s Horsham-based homes while another is heavily criticised by the care regulator as well below expected standards.

A joke surely? Sussex Heathcare

Reports published today by the Care Quality Commission show that The Laurels, which was previously rated as ‘Requiring Improvement’ has this week been given the lowest possible grade of ‘Inadequate’. And, Rapkyns Nursing Home was at the receiving end of highly-critical findings – which showed the home had made no improvement from the previous ‘Requires Improvement’ report.

Both homes have been named by West Sussex County Council, along with SHC’s Orchard Lodge, as having significant safeguarding concerns. But both establishments are still home to dozens of people with learning difficulties and brain injury – even though the CQC inspectors said that neither would be approved for registration if they applied today. Thirty one people were still living at The Laurels and 30 adults lived at Rapkyns Nursing Home at the time of the inspections – in spite of the council’s warnings and the police investigation.

In total, SHC has more homes with negative ratings than positive. According to the CQC’s archives, the group has 19 homes divided between two holding companies – SHC Rapkyns and SHC Clemsfold. Nine of the group's homes possess ‘Good’ ratings, although four of these are under investigation. Eight ‘Require Improvement’ and now two are deemed ‘Inadequate’. Earlier this month, OLM reported that Orchard Lodge in Horsham had been given a third ‘Inadequate’ report.

‘Inadequate’ homes are placed in special measures and a provider’s registration can be cancelled if they do not improve. Such homes are not supposed to be in special measures for more than a year. Orchard Lodge was first graded ‘Inadequate’ after an inspection in July last year – and yet, like The Laurels, it has got worse.

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