Sussex

Orchid View care home scandal prompts 'overhaul' call

Wilfred Gardner, Margaret Tucker, Jean Leatherbarrow, Jean Halfpenny, Enid Trodden, Bertram Jerome and Doris Fielding Image copyright other
Image caption An inquest found that all 19 people who died received "suboptimal" care and five cases involved neglect

The families of relatives who died at a scandal-hit care home have called for a complete overhaul of the industry to prevent similar cases in the future.

A serious case review investigating events at Orchid View in Copthorne, West Sussex will be published later.

The home saw 19 unexplained deaths. Five of those cases involved neglect.

Solicitor Laura Barlow, representing the families, said a public inquiry was needed to identify how standards dropped to "such a catastrophic level".

The home was run by Southern Cross but has since reopened under a new name and new management.

But earlier this year, the new home that was opened on the site, Francis Court, was also found to be failing to meet acceptable levels of care. Operators Care UK said care plans had been reviewed and progress made.

Ms Barlow, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: "The fact that we continue to read reports about other care homes that grossly let down residents or fall short on acceptable care standards, including at Francis Court which was formerly Orchid View, shows lessons are not being learnt and homes are not striving to provide the best care possible."

'Residents left soiled'

After a five-week inquest last October into the deaths at Orchid View, coroner Penelope Schofield heavily criticised the quality of care provided by Southern Cross.

The inquest heard residents in the home were left soiled and unattended because of staff shortages, and in one night shift staff made 28 drug errors.

Ms Schofield said there had been "institutionalised abuse" throughout the home, which had been completely mismanaged and understaffed.

She questioned whether a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection which had rated Orchid View as "good" in 2010, a year before it closed, was "fit for purpose".

The inquest heard the CQC produced two reports on Orchid View in 2011 and issued a warning, and then managers closed the home later that year.

The coroner said all 19 residents who died received "suboptimal" care, but five died from natural causes "which had been attributed to by neglect".

Those five were Wilfred Gardner, 85, Margaret Tucker, 77, Enid Trodden, 86, John Holmes, 85, and Jean Halfpenny, 77.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Orchid View was rated as "good" by the Care Quality Commission in 2010 - a year before it was shut down

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