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Incident where ‘man was locked in a cupboard’ at Hadleigh care home led to suspension of new referrals

Friars Hall Nursing Home
Friars Hall Nursing Home

Ipswich Hospital and Suffolk County Council (SCC) both stopped sending new residents to Friars Hall Nursing Home in Hadleigh after an incident in which it is alleged three residents were locked in a cupboard in 2014.

The son of one the of the residents told the BBC they found their father locked in cupboard calling for help.

The latest revelation comes after a review into the home was published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The report, described by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge as ‘shocking’, rated the home and its care standards as inadequate, with the reports conclusions eventually leading to provider Lalitha Samuel deciding to close the home just before Christmas last year.

The Free Press has also spoken to a former staff member who said she was not shocked by the levels of care, describing the problems faced when she worked at the home.

A spokesman from SCC said the authority stopped sending new residents to the home on November 27, 2014, while an investigation into the incident took place, with this suspension ending on December 9, 2015.

The council had previously suspended sending residents there between April 4, 2012 and November 23, 2012.

The home was rated as inadequate by inspectors the CQC in a report published on March 30, 2015 and again in a report published on April 15 2015.

There was a period of suspension covering these dates in which the home was monitored and the provider worked to make improvements to the service.

The county council’s final suspension came on October 12, 2016, with the home then closing a week before Christmas when it was decided the provider was unable to make the necessary changes to improve.

When this decision was made, Beccy Hopfensperger, SCC’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “Along with colleagues in health and the CQC, we have been working intensively with the home for the past few months, encouraging them to make improvements focussed on ensuring residents receive the quality of care they deserve.

“Unfortunately, little progress was made so we took the difficult, but right decision to find new homes for residents.”

Ipswich Hospital also temporarily suspended the recommendation of the home in 2014 following the incident, which was reported and led to a safeguarding review.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “Following the incident we did not refer more patients there.

“We looked at the safeguarding issues and did a safeguarding review.

“Following any incident there is always a safeguarding review.”

The spokeswoman said it was standard practice that during any review that referrals are not made, however, said the hospital itself worked with other organisations including social workers and continuing care coordinators to make collective decisions on where to send residents.

A staff member who left her job at the care home said she was not surprised by the reports of poor care coming from the home but described it as unbelievable that these levels of care were allowed to go on so long.

She told the Free Press: “I remember there only started being a problem when Mrs Samuel built a building to accommodate staff.”

The woman claimed staff spoke little or no English adding she shared her concerns to nurse in charge.

“I wasn’t shocked but it was unbelievable after all these years the place didn’t get any better.

“Training has changed a lot since then. How was this able to still go on?”

The Free Press has been unable to contact Mrs Samuel for comment.

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