Horsham care home is again told it must improve

Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham
Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham

A care home - one of nine at the centre of a police investigation following the deaths of 13 people - has again been criticised by health regulators.

Orchard Lodge in Warnham near Horsham has been rated as ‘requiring improvement’ for the second time within six months.

The care home is run by Sussex Health Care which also operates the other eight homes being investigated by police and is already in ‘special measures’ following inspections by the Care Quality Commission.

Orchard Lodge cares for up to 33 people with learning and physical disabilities and those with complex health needs.

It was rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ at two inspections last year and as ‘requiring improvement’ in January this year.

Now, following another inspection, the Care Quality Commission said some improvements had been made but it was again rated ‘requiring improvement’ for safety, effectiveness, care and responsiveness and rated ‘inadequate’ for leadership.

In a report out this week, the Commission said: “Another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and 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.”

A spokesman for Sussex Health Care said: ““The CQC’s report recognises that improvements have been made and continue to be made at Orchard Lodge, and it is encouraging that the overall rating has improved.

“The report acknowledges that the people we support have choice and control over their lives, and are supported in the least restrictive way possible. The report also confirms that relatives are actively involved in all aspects of care at Orchard Lodge and acknowledges their ongoing support, stating, ‘Relatives spoke positively about Orchard Lodge and told us their family members received safe care.’

“We are therefore saddened that the report does not sufficiently reflect this most important feedback, and are extremely surprised at the rating for the ‘well-led’ category. The report’s content highlights the positive impact that the new manager is having, and the entire management team’s approach to promoting an open and inclusive environment. It even notes that the council has spoken positively about the new manager’s approach.

“Given all of these points we remain disappointed with the report’s overall conclusions which, whilst acknowledging that positive progress is being made, do not appear to accord with the many positive elements noted in its content. Nevertheless, we continue to work hard to maintain and build upon the improvements being made at Orchard Lodge and look forward to demonstrating that progress on an ongoing basis.”

Stern warning goes out to operators of inadequate care home

New warning to company at centre of care of police probe into care home deaths