Family slams ‘inhumane’ treatment of their autistic son after care home for adults with learning difficulties gave families 10 HOURS’ notice of closure after it said staff shortages meant it could no longer provide safe care
- Berkeley House decided it did not have enough staff to provide sufficient care
- Told families at 7.30am loved ones would have to leave at 5pm on the same day
- Yola and Graham Wakefield said autistic son left ‘traumatised and devastated’
A family has slammed the ‘inhumane’ treatment of their autistic son after a care home for adults with learning difficulties gave families just 10 hours’ notice of its final closure.
Berkeley House in Kent decided it did not have enough staff to provide sufficient care and told families at 7.30am that their loved ones would have to leave at 5pm that same day.
Four days earlier operator Achieve Together had said the closure would happen after 28 days.
Berkeley House in Kent, which looked after adults with severe learning difficulties and autism, told families at 7.30am that their loved ones would have to leave at 5pm that same day
Yola and Graham Wakefield, whose son, 29, had lived at Berkeley House for a decade, said Achieve Together’s actions had left him ‘traumatised and devastated’.
‘Our son had to be sedated so that we could remove him from the home he had known for 10 years,’ they told the Guardian.
‘We had no time to arrange the removal of his larger personal belongings and so all that was familiar to him had to be left behind. What he experienced was inhumane.’
The company said it had decided to close the home ‘due to our inability to recruit and retain staff we were unable to continue to provide a good standard of care’.
It added that following an inspection the Care Quality Commission and the local council ‘determined that people’s needs would be better met in alternative provision’.
There are thought to be more than 100,000 vacancies for social care staff in England, while recent figures revealed more than 40,000 workers quit between April and October.
Half of English councils said they have seen care homes going bankrupt or closing in the last six month.
At the start of the month ministers announced a £500million initiative to employ more staff in the sector.
The white paper, called ‘People at the heart of care’, will also promise £300million for supported housing units for the elderly, £150million for digital development and £30million to promote joint working between the NHS and social care.
The Nuffield Trust think-tank has warned there is a ‘deepening crisis’ in social care staffing ahead of a challenging winter.
It analysed Department of Health figures and found the workforce fell from 1,584,535 in the week ending April 27 to 1,542,590 in the week ending October 26.
Achieve Together, which is owned by a company registered in Jersey with AMP Capital – an Australian investment management company – as it’s ultimate owner, said it was sorry for what happened at Berkley House.
Four days earlier operator Achieve Together had said the closure would happen after 28 days
A spokesman said: ‘We are clear that the provision delivered at Berkeley House fell way below the high standards that the people we support rightly expect and deserve, and that we know we can provide. We wholeheartedly apologise for this.
‘The circumstances surrounding the closure of this service are extremely complex and unique, and involved numerous parties.
‘However, we completely recognise the distress and concern that the speed and nature of this closure caused for the people and families involved, and the impact it has subsequently had.’
The Care Quality Commission said it imposed ‘urgent conditions’ on the home after an inspection on October 20 and that after another check eight days later, ‘the provider chose to cancel their registration’.
‘If we didn’t take this urgent action there would have been a serious risk to people using their services,’ said Debbie Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of adult social care.
A Department of Health and Social care spokesman said: ‘The adult social care white paper is a bold and significant step in delivering a world-leading social care system that is fit for the future.
‘That’s why we are will invest at least £500 million to develop and support the care workforce as part of our additional £5.4 billion investment over three years, which will allow us to build our comprehensive adult social care reform programme.
‘Care homes and home care providers are already benefiting from the new £162.5 million workforce retention and recruitment fund to assist local authorities and care providers in working together to ease workforce pressures in a variety of ways.’
Source: Read Full Article