Councillors were said to be “shocked and horrified” by conditions at Orme House Care Home. Yet this report by WDC officers went unreported in the Journal in spite of urging by Lowestoft Coalition Against the Cuts. This is what the Food and Safety Team found, as reported in the Council minutes: “potentially life changing risks i.e. legionella control, asbestos management, gas safety, electrical safety, lifting equipment, falls from height and matters of evident concern” as well as “faeces on walls, doors and equipment, mattresses heavily stained by human waste, broken bedroom furniture with nails exposed, damp and mould growth in bedrooms, exposed electrical conductors and an inaccessible fire escape”.
The Care Quality Commission (now hopefully reformed) had, a short time earlier, inspected and passed the care home in all categories. Five months after LCAC had alerted the Journal to what had been revealed at that Council meeting (no one from the Journal was present) it reported the story. Here are some of the important issues the Journal didn’t mention.
In spite of the councillors “shock and horror” no one has been prosecuted. Why not? Anglia Care Homes Ltd, the company responsible for Orme House, is still running at least one other care home, in Clacton, Essex. Why is this allowed to happen? Local authorities have been told to reduce their oversight of local care homes. In future they will be largely limited to responding to complaints. Why? Needless to say, care home residents are seldom in a position to lodge complaints.
Here is how we reported the breaking news in March of 2012…
Orme House Care Home Scandal
Dirty, soiled mattresses piled outside the private Orme House Care Home on Kirkley Cliff Road told the story of the disgraceful conditions in which our elderly are being forced to live. The conditions at Orme House came to light by accident.
It was a report of faulty electrical work in the home which led to environmental health officers closing the home after initial attempts to clean the place had to be abandoned. The fifteen residents were split up and hastily found places in a number of other homes. The impact of this sudden move on vulnerable, elderly people will become clear over time. It is the job of the Care Quality Commission to inspect care homes. Twelve months ago, after what appears little more than a tick-box exercise, Orme House was judged “adequate”, and left to its own devices. There are no spot checks on care homes. The CQC’s budget has been cut from £240m to £164m. The CQC does not have the money to do the job.