doc

THE families of “institutionalised abuse” victims at a Sussex care home say a new report into the scandal must be a “blueprint for change”.

The relatives of Orchid View residents say that the serious case review into the home must bring about reform of the care industry.

And Irwin Mitchell lawyers, representing seven victims’ families have called for a public inquiry into care industry regulations.

The serious case review commissioned by the West Sussex Adult Safeguarding Board will be published on Monday.

An inquest last October into the deaths of 19 former residents at the home in Copthorne, near Crawley, found there was a culture of “institutionalised abuse”.

The coroner concluded five deaths were contributed to by neglect and all 19 care residents were given “suboptimal” care.

Family members have formed the Orchid View Relatives Action Group to put pressure on the Government to bring about change in regulation.

The Southern Cross run-home closed down in October 2011 and reopened as Francis Court under new management in February 2012.

Linzi Collings’ mother Jean Halfpenny died in 2010 after being administered three times her regular dose of the blood thinning drug Warfarin over the course of 17 days at Orchid View.

She said regulators need to ensure care homes have welfare as their core value rather than business.

She said: “It is nearly eight months since the conclusion of the inquest yet we continue to see a high number of stories in the press about other care homes failing Care Quality Commission inspections or being investigated for putting residents at risk.

She said the families agree with lawyers “that a full independent public inquiry should now follow, using evidence from the serious case review, to ensure that every care home across the country is performing to a high standard and providing quality care”.

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell are representing a number of relatives including the families of Jean Halfpenny, Jean Leatherbarrow, Doris Fielding, Enid Trodden, Bertram Jerome, Wilfred Gardner and John Holmes.

The firm’s medical law expert Laura Barlow said: “Whilst we welcome the publishing of the serious case review into Orchid View which promises to identify failings and draw up recommendations so that the same mistakes cannot be repeated, we believe the horrific scale of neglect warrants a completely independent inquiry.

“A public inquiry must be convened to ensure that the elderly and vulnerable are protected against unsafe and unacceptable practice across the care home industry and to ensure that the safeguarding authorities are fit for purpose.”