I wish that Ernie Graham, owner of Woodchurch House in Ashford Kent, and seven other care homes across Kent, East Sussex and Surrey would explain how 34 residents died in the space of one year at his Woodchurch House care home on Brook Street in Ashford in 2015. Better still, I'd like Barbara Sleator and Jay Aylett of Kent social services to explain how it was they continued sending vulnerable elderly people to that care home even though the residents there were dying like flies.

Another 28 residents died at Woodchurch House in 2014, and in 2013 there was a total of 24 deaths. However, in 2012, there were only 2 deaths. The average rate per annum of deaths in a UK care home is 4%. Yet, in Woodchurch House, for 2015, the rate was 40%. These facts come from the Care Quality Commission who on April 13th 2016 rated Woodchurch House as a failure, assessing it as "INADEQUATE' on every level of service.

If, for example, 42% of staff at Kent Council dropped dead over the course of a year, or 42% of the people living in the house next door to you died, wouldn't you think it was just a little bit suspicious?

Of the remaining seven care homes in the Graham Care Ltd chain four were rated as "NEEDING IMPROVEMENT' by CQC inspectors. Those 4 homes required improvements in the areas of "safety, caring, being well led, and being responsive, and effective"

Woodchurch House failed in every single one of those areas and was found by CQC inspectors to have poorly trained staff, bad management, unsafe medical practices, and a manager who was not a 'registered care home manager' which is against government health and safety rules and regulations. Woodchurch House, rated as inadequate on April 13th 2016, is now in Special Measures.

My brother Paul died there in Woodchurch House on 26th Nov 2015 at the age of 47. The coroner cited septicemea and acute ascending pyelonephritis, she went on to say that this had 'likely' been caused by an infected catheter. Our family had contacted the staff and the owner of Woodchurch House (Ernie Graham) many times, expressing our serious concerns about the fact Paul was stuck to a catheter, and unable to leave his room - for the entire 11 months he was there - simply because they said there was no outsize person's wheelchair available. Paul's human rights were denied. He had no mobility, thanks to them, and no way of interacting with the other residents and no socialisation at all.

Paul was one of the 34 residents who died in Woodchurch House which in 2015 had approximately 94 residents. That means 42 % of residents died. There is a reason this home was rated as INADEQUATE. The worst rating that can be given. The residents' lives and safety are at risk in this home. The photo with this post shows my brother lying there dying and semi-conscious at 2.30pm which was 12 hours before he died. Staff did not even bother calling a doctor until a relative visited Paul and saw he was seriously ill. Thick shards of broken glass from a smashed fruit bowl lay on the floor near Paul's bed. By time a doctor came at 5.50pm and diagnosed a 'chest infection' and gave Paul 'a paracetemol and an anti-biotic for the chest infection', it was too late. The coroner found Paul had died from septicemea and acute to chronic ascending pyelonephritis. This means Paul's kidneys were burned into a mush by the pyelonephritis infection that killed him. Pyelonephritis literally translates as 'burned up'. The cause was an infected catheter.

The Care Quality Commission and Kent Council should have been aware of the massive and alarmingly high death rate in Woodchurch house which still has elderly residents. It's not too late to save those who remain, all of them are elderly and very vulnerable. They are at risk. The CQC should close this Graham Care Ltd. home down immediately. To have a care home in the UK that has an astronomically high 40% or 42% death rate per annum is unacceptable.

It's a curious thing, in the years at Woodchurch House when the deaths were highest their clinical manager was Ed Mussett, and the home manager was Gillian Burnham. Ed Mussett left the care home a few weeks before my brother died and has taken up a new post with Orchard Homes. Gill Burnham also left Woodchurch House for a new post as home manager at Temple Ewell care home in Dover. I would not be surprised if death rates now rise straight through the roof there !!

The other care homes in the Graham Care Ltd chain are: Rodwell House (Addlestone, Kent), Harpwood House (Sevenoaks, Kent), Hailsham House (Hailsham, East Sussex), Cornford House (Tunbridge Wells), Hawkinge House (Folkstone), Hazeldene House (Tunbridge Wells), and Kettlewell House (Woking, Surrey). Of these, four were rated by the Care Quality Commission as 'NEEDING IMPROVEMENT' and those four homes are: Hailsham House, Cornford House, Hawkinge House, and Kettlewell House.

If your relative is in one of those Graham Care Ltd. homes contact your local council and share this post with them.

My name is Sharon. And my brother's death should have been avoided. Now it's up to Kent Police and CC Alan Pughsley to make sure the truth comes to light. My point is this - there are dozens and dozens of Kent's most elderly, frail and vulnerable people who are still residents, they have remained inside Woodchurch House care home. I have all their names. They are at serious risk, their safety is not secure. What's happening to them, is a scandal. It's a disaster that is already happening!

And, if you think the Ernie Graham name is familiar, it is. You've seen him twice on recent BBC news reports. He's just signed a relationship agreement with the GMB to protect the staff (notice how the GMB are dead silent when it comes to protecting the residents), and he has an 88 million pound fortune built off the backs of Kent's frailest citizens. Not to mention the elderly in East Sussex and Surrey as well. He owns multi-million pound homes, his children are at university, and he is the registered owner of a Pilatus luxury private jet that he hires out and which has the registration mark G-Kare. Get it? People are dying, and he's laughing all the way to the bank.

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    • Woodchurch care home was rated as inadequate

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review #905341

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