Copthorne: Inquest Verdict On Care Home Deaths

A coroner has ruled that neglect contributed to the deaths of five elderly people who died after staying at a care home which has come under fierce criticism.

Penelope Schofield, the West Sussex coroner, said there was "institutionalised abuse'' at Orchid View care home in Copthorne.

She said those involved in the neglect of pensioners at the now defunct home should be "ashamed'' as it was announced a serious case review has been set up.

A five-week inquest heard how some residents were given wrong doses of medication, left soiled and unattended due to staff shortages and there was a lack of management.

Call bells were also often not answered for long periods or could not be reached by elderly people living at the home, which was deemed "an accident waiting to happen''.

Ms Schofield said: "There was institutionalised abuse throughout the home and it started, in my view, at a very early stage, and nobody did anything about it.

"This, to me, was from the top down. It was completely mismanaged and understaffed and failed to provide a safe environment for residents.''

Ms Schofield said it was "disgraceful'' that the home was allowed to be run in the way it was for around two years. She criticised the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which gave Orchid View a ``good'' rating in 2010 - a year before it shut.

"I question how this could be the case and I question whether the inspection that did take place was fit for purpose'', Ms Schofield added.

She went on: "It's a heart-breaking case. We all have parents who will probably need care in the latter part of their lives.''

And she said a cause for concern was that many people who worked at Orchid View are still working in the industry.

Speaking outside the inquest, Lisa Martin, who first informed police of the problems at the care home, said she felt she had no choice but to come forward.

"I came forward because I had witnessed too much poor management and care to vulnerable adults and I couldn't live with the with knowledge any longer and felt I had no choice but to tell the police,'' she said.

"Morally I know I did the right thing but personally I have not worked for two years and the case has had a huge impact on my life.

"However, I wouldn't want to dissuade people from doing the right thing if they see vulnerable elderly people being abused and neglected.''

Speaking of her former colleagues, she added: "They shouldn't be allowed to work in the industry.''

Recently Played Tracks

On Radio: Matt Wilkinson

1pm - 4pm

Email the show

Text 'HEART' to 82122

Matt Wilkinson

On TV: Have To Love Them! 60 Guilty...

11am - 3pm

Watch heart TV

  • Cher The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)



  • Hanson MMMBop



  • Wham! , George Michael Wake Me Up Before You Go Go



  • Britney Spears ...Baby One More Time



Heart VIP


Autumn Weather

Find your local four day weather report here.

Listening To Radio Win With Heart

Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.

Shopping Our Advertisers

Find out more about some of the companies advertising on Heart 102.4 and 103.5

Advertise Advertise in Sussex

Get some great ideas on how to advertise your business on radio, online and on mobile.

Follow Heart on Twitter