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Residents 'in tears' as care home shut down

Eight residents aged 25 to 80 were left in tears when their care home was suddenly closed forcing them into temporary accommodation. Officials from the Care Quality Commission made a shock decision to shut Sea View Lodge in Central Parade, Herne Bay, amid allegations of neglect and abuse. A court order was made at Canterbury Magistrates' Court and the home's registration was cancelled with immediate effect on Wednesday, meaning the eight residents were moved out by Kent County Council staff.

Owner Shahid Sheikh, who denies any wrongdoing and is consulting lawyers, said many were in tears as they left. He believes he has been unfairly treated by the government watchdog and fears the action follows a letter of complaint from a disgruntled ex-employee. The 61-year-old said:

"They were not able to tell me one specific thing that was wrong. If I had made a mistake then I would say 'what needs changing?' But this just doesn't make sense. It has totally come out of the blue."

Roxy Boyce, regional director for the CQC, said they had acted to protect the safety and welfare of people at Seaview Lodge. He said:

"Closing a care home is not a decision taken lightly. However, it became clear that the only way to properly protect residents was to close the home immediately, and move residents to other locations where care is of a better standard."

Mr Sheikh said the home – which received a 'good' rating at its last inspection a year ago – was always run to the highest standards. Some residents had lived there for 20 years and last year's inspection report praised staff for being thoughtful and respectful. Sea View Lodge has been run by Mr Sheikh for the last 12 years and he says recent events have left him devastated.

"It was always like a big family in the home. The residents had everything they needed and I would always spend money to ensure that. In the space of 12 hours this has all happened."

Margaret Howard, director of operations for learning disability at the county council, said staff worked with the Care Quality Commission to find alternative accommodation and kept friendship groups together. She said:

"We will continue to support them and ensure we find them an appropriate permanent accommodation for the future."

HB Times 17th Jun 2011

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