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Police probe care home abuse claims

Labour call for residential & nursing care to be brought back in-house

15 November, 2019 — By Tom Foot

A POLICE investigation has been launched and staff suspended from a care home following allegations of abuse.

Labour chiefs delivered a motion to full council on Wednesday night about the “deeply troubling situation” at Garside House in Regency Street, Pimlico.

Five staff at the home, run by Sanctuary, have been suspended and detectives from the Metropolitan Police are investigating possible breaches of the Care Act.

The allegations are yet to have been proven, the council stressed, but there are calls for homes’ management to be brought back in-house after a series of warnings from inspectors.

Labour group leader Cllr Adam Hug said: “Labour called on Westminster Council to end its relationship with Sanctuary back in June and, given these deeply troubling allegations, it is essential that this happens urgently.

“It is clear that the outsourced arrangements with the NHS are not fit for purpose. We believe this unaccountable outsourcing has to stop and that the council’s residential and nursing care should be brought back in-house to make them more accountable and to improve standards for local res­idents.”

Management of the care home was outsourced in 2015 as part of an eight-year cost-saving contract with the council. In January 2019 the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the care home as requiring imp­rovement.

Garside House provides accommodation and respite care in a three-storey building for up to 40 people with general nursing needs, dementia or in palliative care.

Another care home, Carlton Dene in Maida Vale, run by the same company, was also found to be requiring improvement in all areas by the CQC this year.

On Tuesday October 22 “…police were made aware of allegations relating to the treatment of residents at Garside House nursing home in Pimlico,” said a Scotland Yard spokesperson, adding that an investigation was under way, working with partner agencies including the council and the CQC.

Labour’s motion said: “The council resolves to ask cabinet/the relevant cabinet member to work to remove operational control of care homes in Westminster from Sanctuary as soon as is legally possible; appoint an independent review of bi-borough contract management in adult social care; take steps to end the joint contracting and management arrangements for care homes with the NHS so that Westminster retains responsibility only for the homes it owns; restore direct council management of council-owned care homes in Westminster.”

Cllr Heather Acton, cabinet member for family services and public health, said she could not comment because of the police investigation, but added: “We shall be considering carefully the next steps on future arrangements. The safety and care of our residents remains our priority.”
A Sanctuary Group statement said: “As an organisation that prides itself on delivering the highest standards of care, we take these concerns extremely seriously. We will continue to strive to enrich the lives of every resident living in these homes.”

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