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Police investigate a number of disability care homes after 12 resident deaths

Photo: PA

Police are investigating a number of disability care homes in West Sussex following the deaths of 12 residents.

Two homes in Horsham, run by Sussex Health Care, have been identified by the Care Quality Commission as homes with "significant safeguarding concerns".

The two homes are The Laurels in Guildford Road and Orchard Lodge in Dorking Road.

Sussex Health Care Headquarters Credit: ITV Meridian

Sussex Police says the investigation still remains at an early stage and no arrests have been made at this time.

Sussex Health Care says it is working with police, the council and is speaking to residents and relatives.

Nadra Ahmed, National Care Association

"We are working with West Sussex County Council as part of a multi-agency team investigating safeguarding concerns at a number of private care homes in West Sussex run by one company."

"The senior investigating officer (SIO) for the police investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Till Sanderson, invited families of people whose deaths we may be investigating, to a private meeting which took place at County Hall, Horsham, on Friday (18 August)."

"It was an opportunity for the SIO to meet family members and explain why the police are involved. Partner agencies, West Sussex County Council, NHS, CQC, attended together with HM Coroner for West Sussex, to answer any questions from the families which they are better placed to answer."

"The police investigation still remains at an early stage and aims to identify whether any criminal offences have been committed, or not. No arrests have been made at this time."

– Sussex Police
Sussex Health Care Headquarters Credit: ITV Meridian

Sussex Health Care is working openly with the police and West Sussex County Council to support their current investigation. We are committed to assisting them in any way we can and positively await the conclusion and the outcome of the investigation."

“Our priority at all times is to provide a high standard of care to every person we support. As a responsible provider, we have always invested in our staff and services to make sure we have the right resources available to provide that care. This is reflected in our Investors in People accreditation, by the respected experts in their field that we are proud to have as members of our care teams, and by the awards we have received from professional healthcare bodies over many years."

“In the past month, we have invested further in our care team, bringing in an independent expert with decades of experience to provide direct support to the teams at our homes and services. We have written to residents and relatives and will continue to keep them up-to-date on progress."

“As a respected care provider with over 30 years of experience providing high quality care in Sussex, during which time we have supported over 30,000 people, we are immensely disappointed by the recent press coverage, which absolutely does not provide a fair reflection of the work that we are doing each and every day to support all the people we are privileged to care for.”

– Sussex Health Care
Orchard Lodge Credit: ITV Meridian

“Together with partners including police, health and other local authorities, we are looking in detail at care at a number of services run by Sussex Health Care."

“New County Council placements are suspended to eight homes run by the organisation due to safeguarding concerns."

“Where safeguarding concerns are raised about any care home in the county we work closely with the home to try and resolve those issues and support them in making improvements. We have committed to publishing the names of homes where we have significant safeguarding concerns. That is what we have done with the two homes on our website here: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/housing-options-and-care-homes/safeguarding-concerns-about-care-homes-and-services/"

“Where necessary, or if requested we will offer residents the opportunity to move and we will continue to keep this under review."

“Robust safeguarding plans have been put in place for individual people and for the services they are using as is the case when safeguarding enquiries are raised."

“We are advising private funding residents and / or their next of kin that there are Safeguarding concerns in their SHC home and have offered them advice and support. Where other local authorities or organisations have placed people in these homes , we are advising them of the safeguarding concerns and asking them to review their placements."

“We are not able to provide further information about the detail of the investigation.”

– West Sussex County Council