'The company was becoming the story' - Under fire care home firm to sell up

Tom Burns, managing director of Jeesal Residential Care Services.

Tom Burns, managing director of Jeesal Residential Care Services. - Credit: Supplied by Tom Burns

The directors of a care home firm that has come under repeated fire from regulators have decided to sell up. 

Jeesal Residential Care Services, based in Dereham, has announced that "a new owner will be sought for the business". 

The decision follows several of its care homes including Treehaven Rants in West Runton and Lilas Place in Cromer falling into special measures, and the closure of the associated Cawston Park Hospital in May, following the deaths of three patients in the years previous. 

Cawston Park

Joanna Bailey and Ben King (inset) were among three patients who died while in the care of Cawston Park. - Credit: The Bailey Family/Ben King's Family/Archant

Tom Burns, managing director, said directors regretted the decision, but they felt the firm was "becoming the story".

Mr Burns said: "The board considered that given all the recent adverse publicity surrounding Cawston Park, run by our sister company Jeesal Akman Care Corporation Ltd, it would be in the best interest of our residents and staff that a new owner be found for our homes.

"This decision has been reached with a heavy heart, but it was felt the company was becoming the story, rather than the tremendous work of our staff teams in supporting our residents."

Treehaven Rants on Sandy Lane in West Runton. Picture: Danielle Booden

Treehaven Rants on Sandy Lane in West Runton. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Burns said it had been a "particularly hard" decision for Jeesal's Sally Anne Subramaniam, who had "dedicated her and her family’s life to providing care" after having founded the firm with her partner more than 30 years ago.

Mr Burns added: "We will continue to operate as usual until we can formally hand over to a new owner."

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Mr Burns said Jeesal would be sold as a complete business rather than the care homes being offered individually.

He said: “We will invite organisations in the sector to express an interest. We will then issue detailed information about the business and carry out a formal process until we identify a new owner. 

“The business will issue an information memorandum to assist potential purchasers in arriving at a value for the business”.

Care home in Fakenham

Creswick House Care Home in Fakenham, run by Jeesal Residential Care Services, is to close. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Norfolk Safeguarding Adults’ Board issued a scathing report into the failings of Cawston Park Hospital in September. 

In the wake of the report, Norfolk County Council stopping referring residents to Jeesal's care homes, and council leaders advised families against keeping loved ones in its properties.

The council said it would not comment on the planned sale, but said: "We have dedicated staff working with Jeesal’s care homes across Norfolk to improve care standards where needed. That team is still hard at work, and will continue to work with the staff and residents in those homes while the sales process goes on at Jeesal’s corporate level."

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, said in response to the annoucement: "The issue with Jeesal Residential Care Services is not who owns the company but how it is run and the quality of the care that is offered to the people who are living in those homes. 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been getting an increased number of dog theft reports. 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been getting an increased number of dog theft reports. - Credit: Archant

"I sincerely hope that Jeesal is working hard to improve upon the inadequate levels of service that have recently been highlighted by the CQC and, in seeking a new owner, the management team of Jeesal does not give anything less than it’s utmost in seeking to improve the quality of care it provides to our most vulnerable."

Jeesal's care homes cater for people with learning disabilities including autism or complex needs. 

They include 13 Vicarage Road in Cromer (currently rated good by the Care Quality Commission); 157 Middletons Lane in Hellesdon (rated good); Ashwood House in Buxton (rated 'requires improvement'); Casarita in Taverham (requires improvement); Creswick in Fakenham, which is set to close after the CQC said it was unsafe (requires improvement); Lilas House in Cromer (inadequate); Schulas House in Cromer (good); Salcasa in Buxton (requires improvement); Treehaven Rants in West Runton (inadequate); Treehaven Bubgalows in West Runton (requires improvement).

 A spokesman for the CQC said they "would not usually comment" on the sale of a company.