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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.”
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