Families have been left in shock and anger after being told that the residential care home, where their vulnerable adult children lived in Sittingbourne, was being closed down.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England, initially inspected Berkeley House, Lynsted Lane, on Wednesday 20th October. Following their visit they "imposed urgent conditions upon the service" and another follow-up visit was made on Thursday 28th October. At that visit the CQC say that they "followed [their] normal practice of giving feedback at the end of the visit". They say that they are still compiling their final report and will publish it once "the legal processes are completed". The CQC told SFM News that they "are aware that following this inspection the local authority made arrangements for all people to move out of the service".
Parents say that residents at Berkeley House, most of them with special needs requiring specialist around the clock care, were told at midday on Friday 29th October that they would need to move out by 5pm that day. Achieve Together, who ran the site, issued a Press Statement as follows: “We are clear that the provision delivered at Berkeley House fell way below the high standards that the people we support rightly expect and deserve, and that we know we can provide. We wholeheartedly apologise for this.
“The circumstances surrounding the closure of this service are extremely complex and unique, and involved numerous parties. However, we completely recognise the distress and concern that the speed and nature of this closure caused for the people and families involved, and the impact it has subsequently had.
“A thorough investigation is already underway to ensure all of the specific issues raised by the CQC and others are robustly addressed, and so that lessons can be learnt. These actions will be communicated with the people we support, their families, the local authority, CQC, and other relevant stakeholders, who we are continuing to work in close partnership with.”