Southern Cross to close home at centre of abuse inquiry

Southern Cross is to close a nursing home at the centre of an abuse inquiry weeks before its transfer to a new provider, it announced today.

Southern Cross is to close a nursing home at the centre of an abuse inquiry weeks before its transfer to a new provider, it announced today.

The company said the decision to “instigate an orderly closure of Orchid View”, a nursing home near Crawley in West Sussex, was in the best interests of its 11 residents. The running of Orchid View was due to transfer to Care UK at the end of the month, as part of the closure of Southern Cross.

“The recent, continued focus on the home, its residents and staff by a wide range of parties has become counter-productive and Southern Cross considers that it is now in the best interests of the home’s residents to support them in relocating to alternative accommodation,” said the company’s statement.

Two current or former staff members – a 54-year-old woman from Godstone and a 48-year-old man from Burgess Hill – have been arrested on suspicion of the ill-treatment or neglect of residents contrary to the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Both have been bailed.

As part of a safeguarding inquiry, West Sussex Council has already started working with residents to find alternative accommodation, and Southern Cross said it would consult with the residents and their families to ensure they could be transferred, “as seamlessly as possible”, to other homes.

“The priority for Southern Cross is, and remains, the provision of quality care to its residents and the welfare of its staff,” the statement added. “Southern Cross will maintain operational responsibility for the home throughout this process.”

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