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Death at Hawkinge House 'not being treated as suspicious' Kent Police say

By Sean Axtell

The death of a 60-year-old man at a care home recently branded 'inadequate' is not being treated as suspicious, police said.

Hawkinge House in Hurricane Way, Hawkinge, which looks after 184 patients, came under a criminal investigation following an "incident" in September.

News of the death surfaced during an unannounced Care Quality Commission probe, where the watchdog plunged the home into "special measures."

Hawkinge House
Hawkinge House

Inspectors unearthed a string of Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) breaches placing vulnerable adults at risk during the probe.

“During this inspection we were told about an incident following which a person using the service died.

“This incident is subject to a criminal investigation and as a result this inspection did not examine the circumstances of the incident,” the recent report added.

“However, the information shared with CQC indicated potential concerns about the management of risk to people's health, safety and well-being.”

Yesterday, a police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called to an address in Hurricane Way in Folkestone at 3.16pm on Saturday September 8, following a report of a death of a man in his 60s.

"Officers attended the scene and following a number of inquiries, the death is not being treated as suspicious and the matter has been passed to the coroner."

Plagued by poor CQC reports since 2016, the care complex is at risk of being shut down if urgent action isn’t taken by owners Dr Karen and William Graham within six months.

In 2017 it was rated 'Requires Improvement’ and the owners rapped for two protocol breaches.

"Officers attended the scene and following a number of inquiries, the death is not being treated as suspicious and the matter has been passed to the coroner..." - Kent Police spokesman

They stemmed from poor management, inconsistent patient treatment, unsafe monitoring procedures and failure to drive improvements.

Subsequently the watchdog ordered the registered manager to commit to an action plan in an attempt to bolster standards.

But when bosses claimed to have met the requirements CQC inspectors discovered the problems still existed alongside a further six breaches of the HSCA.

During the latest probe one distressed patient at risk of falling from their seat could be heard calling out for twenty minutes.

However staff left the person in the same position because they were unable to get further support, causing the patient to become more distressed.

Bosses failed to provide the necessary help to nurses treating two patients at risk of dehydration according to the report, which gave a stinging evaluation of registered manager Terry Mullan.

“There were multiple and serious shortfalls in the systems and processes used to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of the service.

“Three statutory notifications had not been submitted to us in line with our guidance.

“Although there was a registered manager they had not fully supported nurses and care staff to understand their responsibilities to meet regulatory requirements,” it said.

Records were incomplete for a person who had suffered three falls and showed no analysis of the cause, yet the registered manager closed the case, the report explained.

Additionally when two people were assaulted by another resident in the summer inspectors learned the incident wasn’t reported to the safeguarding authority.

Indeed, the registered manager was unaware the attack should have been flagged up at all.

Meanwhile the home – equipped with a cinema, shops, beauty salon and gym – turned over a £1 million profit last year according to government records.

Now in ‘Special Measures’ it could face closure within six months if improvements are not made.

A spokesman for Hawkinge House said a new management team has been drafted to boost standards.

“We recognise the concerns and we have taken immediate steps to address them.

“The home now has a new senior management team in place and we have engaged consultants to ensure every member of staff is working in a safe way and the correct records are maintained at all times.

“We have been working closely with the regulators and council and are making steady progress in implementing an agreed set of actions.

“With a new leadership in place at the home, we are confident that on their next visit the CQC will find considerable improvements,” they said.

Overall the service scored ‘Inadequate’ for safety and leadership and ‘Requires Improvement’ for effectiveness, care and responsiveness.

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