The Commission for Social Care Inspection has ordered the closure of the Briars Retirement Home in Southampton as police investigate several suspicious deaths of residents.
Police officers raided the care home in the Bitterne Park area of the city on 17 September following allegations of neglect and ill-treatment.
The CSCI followed this up with an urgent inspection last week, and cancelled the provider’s registration after finding that the residents’ safety and welfare were at serious risk.
Staff from Southampton Council’s communities, health and care directorate have taken over the management of the home, and are looking for suitable placements for the remaining 24 residents in other care homes.
‘Urgent nursing care needed’
The 34-bed Briars Retirement Home was registered with the CSCI as a residential care home, providing meals and basic levels of care for older people, some of whom had dementia.
However, inspectors found that some of the residents needed urgent nursing care.
Amanda Sherlock, regional director for the south east at CSCI, said the Briars “could not give [the residents] the level of care and support that they need”.
Under the cancellation notice, the home cannot legally remain open. It is not yet clear whether Briars Retirement Home will exercise its right to appeal against the decision.
A spokesperson for the provider said managing director Annette Hopkins only wished to say that “eventually we would like to put the Briars back on the map”.
Prior to the snap visit last week, the previous inspection by the CSCI in November 2007 recorded “adequate” standards of health and personal care, and praised staff for their “commitment, attitude and professionalism”.
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said the raid was carried out by officers from the public protection unit “as part of an investigation into the care of a number of patients at the Briars some of which have since died”. He added that the investigation was ongoing.
Expert guide to elderly people