'I'd have closed Cawston Park if I'd had the power' - social care chief

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council.

James Bullion, director of adult social care at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

The head of adult social care in Norfolk has said he would have shut down Cawston Park hospital, if he had possessed the power to do so.

A serious case review outlined lessons to be learned after the deaths of three patients who were cared for at the hospital near Aylsham.

And Norfolk County Council's adult social care director James Bullion said he had "lost confidence" in Jeesal Group, the company behind the hospital.

While the group has shut Cawston Park, it runs nine other care homes in Norfolk and the county council pays for it to look after 32 people.

Cawston Park Hospital from above.

Cawston Park Hospital from above. - Credit: Mike Page

But Mr Bullion said: "We won't be placing anyone else with Jeesal. It's fair to say we have lost confidence in Jeesal and we have been taking action to ensure the social care provision they run is safe."

One of the company's homes - Westbrook House in Cromer - has been shut down after the Care Quality Commission placed it into special measures.


Others have better ratings, but Mr Bullion said council staff are carrying out unannounced checks to monitor the people the council had placed with them.

"The council is very aware that the families of those people may be worried and we would urge them to contact us with any concerns."

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The other homes are at Vicarage Road in Cromer, Middleton's Lane in Hellesdon, Ashwood House in Buxton, Casarita in Taverham, Creswick in Fakenham, Lilas and Shulas in Cromer, Salcasa in Coltishall, plus Treehaven Bungalows and Treehaven in Cromer.

Mr Bullion said he was frustrated that the council had not had more power to intervene at Cawston Park hospital, where problems had first been identified in 2013.


He said: "It was incredibly frustrating that we had the responsibility of looking at safeguarding issues - of which there were 200 over a three year period - but did not have the power to shut the place down. I would have closed it if I had had that power."

It was the Care Quality Commission which had responsibility for the hospital's registration.

Jeesal Group are being contacted for comment.

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