Series of deaths and injuries at Sussex care homes leads to launch of new campaign group

Members of HACA: Ex detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll, Mark Bates,Orchid View Relatives Group members  Judith Charatan, Lesley Lincoln and Ian Jerome, along with Martyn Lewis
Members of HACA: Ex detective chief inspector Clive Driscoll, Mark Bates,Orchid View Relatives Group members Judith Charatan, Lesley Lincoln and Ian Jerome, along with Martyn Lewis

A series of deaths and injuries at care homes in Horsham - and across West Sussex - have led to the launch of a new campaign group.

The group, known as Harmed In Adult Care Alliance - HACA - is fighting for better adult care in the scandal-hit county.

It has been formed by families affected by abuse in local care homes who say that public confidence in the safety of vulnerable adults has been undermined.

Sussex Police are currently investigating the deaths of 13 people at nine care homes in and around Horsham that are all run by the same company - Sussex Health Care.

Meanwhile, West Sussex County Council promised that ‘lessons had been learned’ after 19 people died at Orchid View care home in Copthorne, run by a company called Southern Cross, back in 2010.

Relatives of those who died - some of whom suffered neglect - have been fighting ever since for a public inquiry into what happened there.

Those relatives have now joined forces with the families of two men who suffered serious injuries while they were living at Beech Lodge care home in Guildford Road, Horsham - a Sussex Health Care home. Gary Lewis, then 65, and Matthew Bates, then 33, suffered broken legs, in separate incidents, within hours of each other.

Gary’s brother Martyn Lewis and Matthew’s father Mark Bates are spearheading the new HACA campaign group while still seeking answers into exactly how their relatives were injured.

Martyn Lewis said: “One of the main problems families have found dealing with potential abuse and neglect has been a need to battle the authorities to win justice - with West Sussex County Council even branding concerned relatives ‘vexatious’ for their pursuit of the truth.

“HACA West Sussex welcomes anyone who has concerns about care their loved one has received or is receiving in the county. We would like families to consider coming forward and telling their stories.”

The families say they recognise there are many excellent and dedicated staff and well run care homes in West Sussex - but say it has not been the case throughout the county.

They say that 20 per cent of care homes in West Sussex have been rated ‘requiring improvement by health regulators. In Horsham last year, HACA says, 65 per cent of care homes were rated as ‘requiring improvement and 12 per cent were rated ‘inadequate’.

To find out more, visit www.haca-westsussex.co.uk