Nurses and care workers have claimed a decision to close a care home could lead to elderly patients dying.

About 37 residents are due to be evicted from Norman Latham House in Southwick later this year.

The home, in Old Shoreham Road, is closing in 2006 because managers say it is no longer able to comply with national care standards.

However, the Commission for Care Standards Inspection, the body responsible for ensuring standards in care homes are met, said the home did meet standards, had passed all recent inspections and was free to remain open.

But residents have already begun moving to others in Worthing, Patcham and Hove.

One nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "These old people will not be able to stand the strain of moving.

"They are with their friends in the home at the moment but they will all be split up and most of them won't be able to take the strain. It is obvious to us the real reason for it closing is not because it doesn't meet standards."

The nurses The Argus spoke to alleged the home was being sold to a developer.

But Dawn Monnery, operations manager at Norman Latham House, denied there was a "clear plan" for what would happen after it closed.

She said: "We haven't got that far yet, we've only told the residents and staff so far and we've not looked any further than that."

West Sussex Housing Society, which runs the home, insists the reasons behind its closure are because of the care standards.

The nurses from the home all face redundancy, with one saying she had already started looking for another job.

She said: "We all face an uncertain future but the point is it's not about us, it's about the people we care for. They are among some of the most needy and delicate people you will ever meet. One is 104-years-old."

Age Concern said elderly people did often die after being moved from one home to another.

A spokesman said: "These are major stresses we are talking about and it does major things to old people's bodies and minds."