Care home bosses accuse council of acting ‘unlawfully’ in removing residents

Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham
Sussex Health Care, the site of Orchard Lodge, Nr Warnham

Bosses of a care home have hit out at a council’s decision to remove residents amid safety fears as ‘unlawful.’

West Sussex County Council is moving four residents out of Orchard Lodge care home in Warnham following a new risk assessment.

The home is one of nine - all run by Sussex Health Care - currently at the centre of a police investigation following the deaths of 12 people.

Orchard Lodge cares for people with learning and physical disabilities and was recently rated ‘inadequate’ by health watchdogs.

But Sussex Health Care says that some residents do not want to leave and has accused the county council of acting unlawfully in moving them.

A county council spokeswoman said that the four people being moved were people placed at Orchard Lodge by the council.They were being moved following a ‘further risk assessment of the clinical care and safety being provided for these individuals.’

She added: “We are talking to all other organisations which fund people at the home about our concerns and the action we are taking.

“We have spoken to all the families of these people and continue to talk to them and answer any questions or concerns they may have. Whilst we recognise that this decision is not an easy one, we must place the care and safety of these vulnerable individuals above all other considerations.”

She said alternative places had been found locally for the four people affected.

A spokesman for Sussex Health Care said: “West Sussex County Council’s actions are absolutely unwarranted and, we believe, unlawful.”

He added: “Several families are challenging the county’s decision and are determined to ensure their loved ones are able to stay in the home that has looked after them for years.”

“We have sought to work openly and transparently with the county, with the best interests of residents at the forefront of what we do.”

The other eight Sussex Health Care homes currently being investigated by police are: The Laurels in Broadbridge Heath; Beech Lodge, Guildford Road, Broadbridge Heath; Beechcroft Care Centre, East Grinstead; Kingsmead Lodge, Crawley Road, Roffey; Longfield Manor, West Street, Billingshurst; Rapkyns Care Centre, Guildford Road, Broadbridge Heath; Rapkyns Nursing Home, Guildford Road, Broadbridge Heath and Woodhurst Lodge, Old Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, Crawley.