‘Whistleblowers’ hotline set up amid concerns over care home deaths and injuries

Martyn Lewis and Mark Bates SUS-170814-124202001
Martyn Lewis and Mark Bates SUS-170814-124202001

Relatives of two men who suffered injuries while living at a care home run by a company now at the centre of a police investigation are appealing to other families to come forward with any information.

A special ‘whistleblowers’ hotline’ has been set up by the independent charity Compassion In Care for anyone who has any concerns.

Gary Lewis, 65, and Matthew Bates, 33 - neither of whom can walk or talk - were each found to have suffered broken legs in separate incidents while they were residents at Beech Lodge care home in Guildford Road, Horsham, in 2015.

The home is run by Sussex Health Care which operates 20 local care homes - eight of which are currently being investigated following the deaths of 12 people.

Gary’s brother Martyn Lewis and Matthew’s father Mark Bates are now asking any relatives of residents at care homes about whom they have concerns to contact the confidential whistleblowers’ line on 07763 066063 between 10am – 4pm Monday to Wednesday or to email Info@compassionincare.com.

West Sussex County Council has stopped placements at eight of Sussex Health Care homes because of ‘serious safeguarding concerns’ but has, so far, named only two of them: The Laurels in Guildford Road, Horsham, and Orchard Lodge in Dorking Road, Warnham.

Sussex Health Care operates homes in Sharpthorne, Henfield, Crawley, East Grinstead, Billingshurst, Croydon and Nutley, as well as in Horsham.

A meeting between relatives of the 12 people whose deaths are now being investigated was held with Sussex Police, the West Sussex Coroner and representatives of the county council and Care Quality Commission - responsible for overseeing health services - last month.

A county council spokesperson said this week: “Together with partners including police, health and other local authorities, we continue to look in detail at care at a number of services run by Sussex Health Care.

“The county council has suspended new placements to eight homes run by the organisation due to serious safeguarding concerns.

“We have published the names of two care homes where we have significant safeguarding concerns on our website. A decision on publishing any further information will be taken in consultation with our partner agencies. This is under constant review.

“No residents have currently been moved. We continue to keep this under review.

“We are not able to provide further information about the detail of the investigation.”