A council will “where necessary” offer moves to residents at two care homes being investigated by police and regulators after ‘significant’ safeguarding concerns were raised.
West Sussex council passed concerns on to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a number of reported deaths at residential facilities operated by Sussex Health Care.
Last week the council suspended new placements to eight homes run by the organisation, which has delivered services in the county for 30 years.
The local authority is working with Sussex Police as part of a multi-agency team investigating safeguarding concerns at the firm’s homes.
The CQC has also carried out a series of unannounced inspections at Sussex Health Care premises.
A CQC report published in July relating to one of the two homes at the centre of the investigation – the Laurels, in Horsham, which is home to people with physical and learning disabilities – noted ‘inadequate’ leadership and issues with safeguarding and risk assessments.
‘Opportunity to move’
A West Sussex council spokesperson said: “Where necessary, or if requested, we will offer residents the opportunity to move and will continue to keep this under review.
“Robust safeguarding plans have been put in place for individual people and for the services they are using, as is the case when safeguarding enquiries are raised.”
A statement from Sussex Health Care said that the firm was “working openly” with the council and police to support investigations.
A Sussex police spokesperson said that the senior investigating officer had held a private meeting on 18 August with families of people whose deaths the force “may be” looking into.
“The police investigation still remains at an early stage and aims to identify whether any criminal offences have been committed,” the spokesperson said. “No arrests have been made at this time.”
Debbie Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said that the regulator would report on its findings and any enforcement action against Sussex Health Care “as soon as we can”.
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