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Families launch legal action against Osborne Grove nursing home closure

PUBLISHED: 10:53 08 March 2018

Inadequate rating: Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Finsbury Park. Picture: James Morris

Inadequate rating: Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Finsbury Park. Picture: James Morris

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The relatives of “vulnerable” residents faced with “eviction” from their nursing home have started legal action against Haringey Council.

Six people with family members in troubled Osborne Grove Nursing Home have put their names to the action sparked by fears their loved ones may not survive the stress of being moved.

They allege the council has failed in its duty to provide families with proper notice of the moves under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In a second allegation they claim a doctor’s assessment that a 94-year-old, bed-ridden woman with dementia was fit to move had been carried out over the phone rather than in person, and without a family member present. She remains at the home. Her daughter Liz Squire, from Muswell Hill, said: “Moving her is not in her best interests.”

Osborne Grove, in Upper Tollington Park, is the last council run care home in the borough. Last June inspectors from health watchdog the Care Qulaity Commission (CQC) rated the home inadequate after residents went without baths and inspectors had to ask staff to seek attention for a pensioner with severe constipation. In its latest inspection last September the CQC removed the home from special measures.

A vote to close the home taken by council chiefs in December was challenged after a meeting of Haringey’s adults and health scrutiny panel urged a pause to address families’ concerns.

On Tuesday night the council’s Cabinet voted to press ahead with the home’s closure with adult social care chief Cllr Bernice Vanier drawing cries of “Shame on you” from the public gallery after saying it was not “sustainable” to keep it open.

After the meeting, campaigner Mary Langan said: “Claire Kober’s grim council regime has driven adult social care in Haringey into the ground.

“What a shocking final act to close our last nursing home and virtually evict frail and confused old people. Procedures have been poor and the families, who have suffered enough, now have to take legal action to protect the basic rights of their loved ones.

“We will all get old and this could have happened to any of us which is terrifying,” she added.

However, a Haringey spokeswoman said the decision to close was not taken lightly.

“Cabinet took the original decision in December 2017 based on a raft of evidence that made clear it was not sustainable or safe to keep Osborne Grove open. No new information was presented as part of this recent process, instigated by members of the scrutiny panel so the decision stands.

“We will continue to work very closely with residents, their families and key workers to ensure the safe transfer of individuals to alternative accommodation so they can receive high-quality care in a suitable environment.

“The decision taken in December is not one that we took lightly and, whilst we have considered the matter from every angle, the safety and welfare of residents has always been – and will continue to be – our paramount concern.

“We can confirm that we received a letter regarding legal action, which is currently being considered by our legal team,” she added.

But panel chairman Lib Dem Cllr Pippa Connor said recommendations from a scrutiny panel to Cabinet were not made lightly and the lack of questions from Cabinet members on such an important decision had been frustrating.

“Relatives had asked that the closure of Osborne Grove was paused until the options appraisal, which was on the forward plan for Cabinet January 2018 now delayed until the summer, is published. This would have allowed families to see if nursing care would be re provided on the site.

“The standards of care have been improving. The CQC report in July 2017 moved Osborne Grove up from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”, with two of the five areas actually rated as “good”.

“Providers of care are usually supported to continue to improve not close. The other local nursing home, not run by the council, Priscilla Wakefield House also has been rated as “requires improvement” by the CQC but we are not asking the provider to close this home and move all the residents.”

Cllr Connor added: “The Council will be supporting this nursing home to improve so why not support our own nursing home?”

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