‘Callous’ cuts blamed after bodies were left to rot in retirement home


Angry residents have said “callous” care cuts resulted in two bodies being left to rot for months at a retirement home in Suffolk.

Two bodies were discovered were found at Mussidan Place in Woodbridge, which is owned and managed by Flagship Group, the Daily Mirror reported.

The first body was found in February this year with neighbours claiming the dead man’s relative had told them it had been there since November.

A further body was found in a kitchen at the development on August 8 after a neighbour noticed it was infested with flies.

Residents at the property said the bodies would have been found sooner if a warden service had not been removed from the development. Cuts to sheltered housing support were introduced by the council in 2018.

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “It is the decision of each independent housing provider to allocate and manage their own budget, which may include wardens, alarms or any other service they feel appropriate.

“Housing schemes operate independently but it is key that we work with partners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their elderly and vulnerable tenants.

“Since we were made aware of these tragedies via the press, we have requested an urgent meeting with Flagship Homes and we will refer this to the adult safeguarding board for it to determine if an independent inquiry will go ahead.

“I feel very strongly that this is not the time to be apportioning blame between agencies – it is the time to extend our sympathy and support to the friends and family of the deceased residents and to investigate fully to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The council said housing companies providing supported living services had been informed of changes to funding in 2016 so they could make plans for future support when the grant expired at the end of 2017/18.

A Flagship spokesperson said: “Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of our customer at this difficult time.

“As a housing provider, Flagship own and manage the properties, we do not provide supported services for our 22 schemes in Suffolk. The changes in the support services previously provided are due to a reduction in central government funding for housing associations.

“The welfare and safety of our customers’ environment is important to us. We take steps to ensure the safety at these schemes, attending weekly to check communal and external spaces are safe. A central pull cord alarm system is in place for all communal areas, with an option for residents to purchase individual alarms.”


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