Fight for care home deaths inquiry taken to Westminster

Relatives of people who suffered at Orchid View care home call for a public enquiry. Ian Jerome, Judith Charatan, and Lesley Lincoln. Pic Steve Robards  SR1704029
Relatives of people who suffered at Orchid View care home call for a public enquiry. Ian Jerome, Judith Charatan, and Lesley Lincoln. Pic Steve Robards SR1704029
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Families of pensioners who died at Orchid View are campaigning for a public inquiry.

Copthorne resident Lesley Lincoln’s mother, Enid, was one of five who died at the care home after neglect by staff, a coroner ruled in 2013.

Families meet with minister David Mowat MP at Westminster, accompanied by MPs Henry Smith, Jeremy Quin and Peter Bottomley, and Andrea Sutcliffe of the CQC

Families meet with minister David Mowat MP at Westminster, accompanied by MPs Henry Smith, Jeremy Quin and Peter Bottomley, and Andrea Sutcliffe of the CQC

Nineteen people died after ‘sub-optimal’ treatment at the Southern Cross care home, the coroner’s report said.

Orchid View was shut in 2011 after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found residents at risk of ‘serious neglect’.

Relatives of those who died took their fight for a public inquiry to Westminster.

They met David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, and were joined by MPs Jeremy Quin, Henry Smith and Peter Bottomley, and Andrea Sutcliffe of the CQC.

The meeting focussed on changes since the closure but they asked about an inquiry.

Judith Charatan, of Golding Close, whose mother Doris died at the home, had ‘mixed feelings’ about the meeting.

“We had the opportunity to share concerns but felt the meeting went over things we had already been told about.

“There are still concerns we have about the care industry. We feel improvements do not go far enough,” she said.

She wants the CQC to have greater powers to protect people and, if not a public inquiry, a cross party group to look at the industry and a parliamentary inquiry.

Forest Green resident Ian Jerome moved his uncle out of Orchid View before it closed. He criticised care homes that ‘cut corners’ because they are run as businesses

Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham, said: “This horrific scandal raised many questions. Henry Smith, Peter Bottomley and I arranged for relatives of Orchid View residents, who have conducted an excellent campaign, to meet the Minister, David Mowatt and seek assurances that lessons have been implemented.

“I believe it was a useful meeting in getting across areas which are still a source of worry for relatives – while also I hope reassuring them that improvements have taken place to help eradicate the appalling abuse of vulnerable people.”

A spokesperson for the CQC said: “We have made extensive changes to the way we inspect. We have a ratings regime which shines a spotlight on care that isn’t good enough and holds providers to account by setting out what improvements are necessary.

“We deploy our extensive enforcement powers when this is required to secure improvement, constraints or closure of services to ensure that poor care is stopped altogether.”

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