Home under police investigation remains in special measures

Sussex Health Care’s (SHC) Orchard Lodge in Horsham, West Sussex has remained in special measures following a CQC inspection in January.

The home is one of nine SHC services under investigation by police with regard to 12 deaths between April 2015 and June 2017 (see Police question woman over care home deaths).

The CQC said: “This service will remain in special measures and continue to be kept under review by CQC and, if needed, could be escalated to urgent enforcement action. Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months. If there is not enough improvement, so there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action to prevent the provider from operating this service.”

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Inspectors found that systems to assess and monitor the system were not effective, particularly with relation to medicine management and monitoring the skills and competencies of agency registered nurses.

While noting that aspects of care planning had improved, the CQC noted that care records did not “demonstrate people had received the safe care and treatment as referred to in their care plans”.

A SHC spokesperson said: “The most recent inspections by the CQC at Orchard Lodge took place in late 2017 and at the very beginning of 2018.  As such they simply do not reflect the very substantial investment that has been made since the New Year in both Orchard Lodge itself and the wider organisation.

“Since these inspections we have appointed a new chief executive officer with decades of experience leading care providers across the UK, who has taken the lead on operational activities.  We have appointed a Director of Quality, Compliance and Service Improvement, who leads a newly established Quality Team, which is working independently of our Operations Team and provides critical oversight and best practice support.  We have also appointed a new Head of Safeguarding, who is a former senior police officer with many years of experience.

“We are working tirelessly to reduce the use of agency support.  When we do utilise agency support, we ensure that each individual has a staff profile in place that clearly identifies them and ensures they have the right qualifications and experience for the role they are fulfilling.

“Orchard Lodge continues to make positive progress with these measures in place.  The CQC acknowledges that the investment in additional staff in the home made prior to the inspections is having a positive impact, but it is deeply disappointing that the reports do not reflect the significant investments that have been made since.  We are determined to continue to provide good quality care and support at Orchard Lodge and to work with the CQC to evidence this.”

To read the report, click here.

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