Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 13:10 UK

Care home raided in deaths probe

Police have raided a private care home in Southampton as part of a probe into the death of six patients following allegations of neglect.

A warrant was executed at Briars Retirement Home in Thorold Road, Bitterne Park on 17 September.

Health care officials and the city council accompanied the officers.

Ronald Reed, 81, who died in August, is one of the cases being investigated. The owner of the 34-room home, Annette Hopkins, denied the allegations.

The welfare of the residents at the home is of paramount importance
Commission for Social Care Inspection

Mrs Hopkins, who confirmed Southampton City Council is due to remove several residents from the home, said: "There are always two sides to the story.

"I cannot stand here and say we are the best thing since sliced bread when we have these people [the police] in the home."

Mr Reed died at Southampton General Hospital on 9 August.

A coroner found that he died from natural causes, said Hampshire Constabulary.

A spokesman for the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) said: "As the care homes' regulator we are aware of the police investigation and are helping in any way we can.

"The welfare of the residents at the home is of paramount importance and in such situations we always liaise closely with social services, and, if appropriate, the primary care trust."

Carol Valentine, the city council's assistant head of health and community care, said: "The welfare of people in residential care homes in the city is a priority for a number of organisations, including Southampton City Council.

"Any decision taken about the care of individuals in relation to this work is based on multi-professional assessments of need and wellbeing.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on any ongoing investigation."

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