Review into tragedy of dead bodies going undiscovered fails to alleviate residents’ fears

Woodbridge mayor Eamonn ONolan with residents of Mussidan Place Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

Woodbridge mayor Eamonn ONolan with residents of Mussidan Place Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD - Credit: Archant

A review sparked by concerns two dead bodies had lain undiscovered for months in a retirement complex has failed to address residents’ safety fears.

Valerie Kersey, resident at Mussidan Place, said she was disappointed with the review Picture: JAMIE

Valerie Kersey, resident at Mussidan Place, said she was disappointed with the review Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD - Credit: Archant

Valerie Kersey, who lives in the Flagship Homes-owned Mussidan Place in Woodbridge, said the review following the two deaths had left her "disappointed".

"It's still hard to come to terms with the fact two dead men had lain there for such a long time an no one noticed," she said.

"I appreciate people have taken the time to look into what happened, but it's just a load of words as far as I'm concerned."

The Suffolk Safeguarding Partnership led the review to learn lessons from the tragedies, which emerged last summer.

Mussidan Place, Woodbridge. Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

Mussidan Place, Woodbridge. Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD - Credit: Archant


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Residents had criticised Suffolk County Council (SCC) for cutting funding for wardens and sheltered accommodation, which they felt would have meant the deaths would not have gone unnoticed.

MORE: 'Callous' care cuts blamed after bodies left rotting in retirement properties for monthsOne body was discovered in February, the other in August when a neighbour noticed a kitchen was infested with flies.

SCC said it had given providers notice of the cuts so they could consider other ways to offer support - but Flagship said it had to remove the service once the funding was removed. SCC later agreed to an independent review into what happened.

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Safeguarding Partnership manager Howard Woldsmith said the review, which recently concluded and involved family members, found three areas for learning. It identified the need to "pro-actively re-review" people's care needs to ensure they were being met following changes of circumstances; highlighted the benefit of the Good Neighbour Scheme for adults not receiving professional support; and found interagency communication needed to be stronger.

Labour's Sarah Adams said she hoped lessons would lead to improvements Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Labour's Sarah Adams said she hoped lessons would lead to improvements Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mr Woldsmith said the lessons would be briefed to all agencies.

Flagship said it welcomed the opportunity to take part and apply the learning. "We continue to provide our customers with information on where they can seek advice, access support services and care packages," said Flagship's Sam Greenacre.

Sarah Adams, Labour Group leader at SCC said she hoped the lessons brought improvements for the safety of vulnerable residents.

"Reinstating funding for wardens would go a long way toward achieving this and is the right thing to do," she added. "We cannot risk a repeat of these terrible events."

Mrs Kersey said the residents still wanted a return of wardens but acknowledged this was unlikely to ever happen.

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