Sussex care provider to close homes after damning report by watchdog

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

A care home provider in Sussex, being investigated by police over the deaths of four residents, is now closing many of its homes.

It follows a report by the Care Quality Commission which made an unannounced visit to Beech Lodge, near Horsham, in June this year. It was rated "inadequate" by inspectors for a second time, the same verdict they reached in a previous inspection carried out in October 2020.

The Care Quality Commission visited Beech Lodge care home in October 2020 and June 2021.

Beech Lodge, in Clemsfold near Horsham, is a residential nursing home for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and a range of neurological conditions.

The Care Quality Commission says that in its view daily life for the 21 residents was "unacceptable".

It is now earmarked for closure by the company which runs it Sussex Health Care, along with five other care homes.

Matthew Bates was a resident at Beech Lodge for more than ten years

Mark Bates' son Matthew was a resident at Beech Lodge care home for more than 10 years, until he suffered a badly broken leg in 2015.

  • Mark Bates, father of a former Beech Lodge resident:

Some of the findings from the CQC report:

  • There was a lack of good governance

  • People were not being protected from abuse or neglect

  • There were not enough skilled or competent staff to keep people safe

  • Staff did not always have the correct training

  • Care was not person-centred

The CQC found people were not being protected from abuse or neglect at Beech Lodge care home

CQC inspectors say they would have taken action at Beech Lodge, if Sussex Health Care had not decided to close it.

The other services that will close are Orchard Lodge (Horsham), Beechcroft Care Centre (East Grinstead), Kingsmead Lodge (Horsham) and Wisteria Lodge (Uckfield). The Granary (Broadbridge Heath) will also close its profound and multiple learning disability service however, its acquired brain injury service will remain open.

Sussex Health Care plans to close all these service by 30 September 2021.

In a statement Sussex Health Care said "As an experienced care provider, Sussex Healthcare has been fully committed to providing the best care possible for those we support, but we have been unable to move our complex Profound and Multiple Learning Disability services, including Beech Lodge, forward to a position where we provide consistent, high-quality care. 

“The decision to close the services was an incredibly difficult one. Many of the people we support have been with us for a very long time and the impact on them and their families has been our highest concern throughout. Our immediate priority is to ensure that those in our care are supported in their transition into appropriate alternative care.  We will also be supporting our hard-working and dedicated staff through the service closure process.”

Read the full Care Quality Commission report into Beech Lodge in Horsham

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