Copthorne care home residents at risk - after 19 died at previous home

A new care home which opened in place of notorious Orchid View is in danger of putting residents at risk due to staff shortages, care inspectors have found.

Francis Court, in Copthorne, does not have enough qualified, skilled or experienced staff to meet residents’ needs, according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The care home was opened on the site of Orchid View where 19 vulnerable residents died.

Orchid View operator Southern Cross has now dissolved but at a recent inquest a coroner found “institutionalised abuse” was directly linked to at least five deaths at the home.

Staff shortages and a lack of support from senior management were blamed for the neglect.

Now Francis Court run by Care UK has been warned to take action over its own staff shortages after an anonymous tip-off.

According to the CQC report a staff member said: “No one listens to us. We have been saying for months that we cannot cope with the number of staff we have on duty.

“Many of them are agency staff who don’t always turn up and you spend most of the time telling them what to do.”

A resident told inspectors: “All the staff are so helpful and kind to me I can’t fault them. I just wish there was more of them to help the ones that shout out a lot.”

Another staff member said: “I dread coming into work these days as you just never know how many staff are going to be on duty and how many agency staff you are going to have to work with.

“You have to guide them all the time. It is very tiring and takes time away from caring for residents.”

A third staff member said: “Morale is so low at the moment that sickness and staff not turning up for shifts has become a real problem.”

Care UK said it was addressing the CQC issues with agency staff and training.

A spokesman said: “We accept some aspects of care and administration have not reached the high standards we demand and our residents and their families deserve and would like to say sorry.

“Our improvement plan is being overseen at the highest level by very experienced senior managers and we are confident that the shortcomings will be resolved quickly.”

Ian Christian, a Partner at Irwin Mitchell,which represented nine families of former Orchid View residents, said: “We are deeply concerned to hear of shortcomings in the recent CQC report into Francis Court.

“The findings of the Orchid View inquest were both shocking and appalling and we hoped they would act as a stark warning to care home providers of the devastating consequences of letting care standards, staffing levels and resources slip to an unacceptable level.

“To hear of unacceptable staffing levels on the same site where such horrendous neglect previously took place raises questions as to whether any lessons have been learnt and what more can be done to ensure care homes adhere to safe standards of care.

“We urge the CQC to publish its latest report on standards at Francis Court as quickly as possible to provide answers to current residents and their family members about the continued level of risk and whether improvements have been made.”

Comments (3)

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11:12pm Tue 10 Dec 13

getThisCoalitionOut says...

How is it possible for this to happen? Things must change, the law must be changed that bad owners of care homes are stopped from renaming and reopening them again but with the same bad owners.

These are vunerable, elderly people who need decent, good care. The owners should be forced to offer a decent wage that the employees can live on as the owners charge so much money to live in one of these places, that way there wouldn't be the constant changing of staff.
How is it possible for this to happen? Things must change, the law must be changed that bad owners of care homes are stopped from renaming and reopening them again but with the same bad owners. These are vunerable, elderly people who need decent, good care. The owners should be forced to offer a decent wage that the employees can live on as the owners charge so much money to live in one of these places, that way there wouldn't be the constant changing of staff. getThisCoalitionOut

11:34am Wed 11 Dec 13

redwing says...

How is it possible for this to happen?
The short answer is that it is the inevitable result of making care of the elderly almost entirely down to the private sector instead of the council run homes we used to have. There are profits to be made and the way to get 'em is to cut corners on staff training and quality of staff, amongst other things.
Who cares? They're just old people and will struggle to complain and be dead soon anyway. The money to be had from it all has got to be siphoned off for the rich somehow.
Anyone with an ounce of sense would see the need for publicly run services to protect the wellbeing of vulnerable old people in the last years of their lives. Like so much else we had in this country it's been destroyed.
How is it possible for this to happen? The short answer is that it is the inevitable result of making care of the elderly almost entirely down to the private sector instead of the council run homes we used to have. There are profits to be made and the way to get 'em is to cut corners on staff training and quality of staff, amongst other things. Who cares? They're just old people and will struggle to complain and be dead soon anyway. The money to be had from it all has got to be siphoned off for the rich somehow. Anyone with an ounce of sense would see the need for publicly run services to protect the wellbeing of vulnerable old people in the last years of their lives. Like so much else we had in this country it's been destroyed. redwing

11:50am Wed 11 Dec 13

mimseycal says...

Isn't this the home that was given to the manager of a previous incarnation of the home? Sarah O’Mara if my memory serves me right. She was personally criticised after 19 odd patients had died at Orchard View. So Southern Cross dissolved and Care UK took over. Who then proceeded then give Sarah O'Mara Francis Court ...
Isn't this the home that was given to the manager of a previous incarnation of the home? Sarah O’Mara if my memory serves me right. She was personally criticised after 19 odd patients had died at Orchard View. So Southern Cross dissolved and Care UK took over. Who then proceeded then give Sarah O'Mara Francis Court ... mimseycal

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