Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, and Councillor Lewis Herbert, local Councillor for Coleridge where the home resides and Leader of Cambridge City Council, have condemned the actions of care provider, Care UK, after telling residents of Hinton Grange care home that they will be closing the site for refurbishments a few days before Christmas Day Care UK has provided less than two months formal notice to residents and their families, who are now trying to find alternative care provision in the run up to Christmas. The company have in the past been involved in controversy over tax issues, wage-cutting and political donations to local former Conservative MP and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
Mr Zeichner and Councillor Herbert have been contacted by a number of families in recent weeks affected by this announcement, informing them that residents and families are experiencing serious levels of stress due to the short time frame before the 21st December. Hinton Grange care home is currently set to close for refurbishment for 18 months with all residents needing to find alternative care during that time. It is understood that staff face losing their jobs, however have been offered alternative locations to work, some of which are outside the city.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “I am dismayed by the complete lack of compassion shown by Care UK for the residents and staff of Hinton Grange. To announce that the home will be closing just 4 days before Christmas and only providing two months’ notice is simply not acceptable. I understand that many residents are frail and families are worried about the affect this move will have on their mental wellbeing.”
“The Chief Executive of Care UK needs to provide some answers. We need to know who made the decision to move 37 elderly residents, some in very vulnerable situations, on 21st December. That is the time of year when people should be enjoying the festive celebrations in familiar settings, not going through a traumatic and stressful move.”
“Care UK should look again at the human impact of going ahead with the closure in December and at least delay it to ensure that residents, families and staff can properly prepare for what will inevitably be a stressful experience.”
Councillor Lewis Herbert added: “I am appalled by Care UK’s handling of this situation. They are meant to be expert care providers, delivering contracts across the country to local authorities and the NHS, but they have shown a real lack of commitment to delivering high quality care by making this decision. Evicting vulnerable residence and terminating contracts on 21st December just before Christmas is heartless, and a total reversal to written assurances I obtained from Care UK as local Councillor for concerned families and home residents in my ward last March, promising lengthy notice and a clear duty of care for both residents and staff.”
Care UK have stated that they need to close the care home in order to make vital improvements to the building, which cannot be done in phases or with part closures of the site. The absolute minimum notice normally expected by councils and the NHS for care home residents is six months.