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Stroud Green nursing home closure ‘a travesty of local democracy’

PUBLISHED: 18:21 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:21 13 December 2017

Haringey Council chiefs voted unanimously to close Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Steve Poston

Haringey Council chiefs voted unanimously to close Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Steve Poston

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Council chiefs have ignored campaigners’ pleas deciding to shut the last remaining publicly-run nursing home in Haringey.

Haringey Council chiefs at Tuesday night's meeting in the Civic Centre. Picture: Jon King Haringey Council chiefs at Tuesday night's meeting in the Civic Centre. Picture: Jon King

In a public meeting on Tuesday the council’s Labour top team voted unanimously to close the doors at Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Upper Tollington Park.

In March inspectors rated the home inadequate after finding 16 out of 19 residents had not had a bath since a Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit three months before.

In the meeting Gordon Peters of Hornsey Pensioners Action Group described closure as “the wrong course of action” arguing the CQC in its latest report said the home had made “significant progress”.

A ban imposed by the council on new admissions led Mr Peters to say the home’s future “may well be unsustainable under current terms” but suggested it could be saved if rehabilitation services and respite care were introduced.

“Residents fundamental rights, and their health, are at risk and it is probable some would not survive another move,” Mr Peters said before warning the council’s reputation could also take a hit.

Chris Taylor, from Unison, argued the home’s staff would face lower wages in the private care sector.

“Vulnerable elderly residents will be moved from a place they thought was their home with serious implications for their health,” he added.

He said the CQC had not recommended the home close and staff were being blamed for failings, instead of management, before urging the council to team up with the NHS to run it.

But leader Cllr Claire Kober argued the council faced financial pressures with the home having overspent by £1 million and a deal with the Whittington Hospital not succeeding in 2015.

Adult social care boss Cllr Bernice Vanier argued improvements in safety and care hadn’t taken place fast enough for the council which had a duty to hold itself accountable in the same way demanded of private care providers.

But Muswell Hill Lib Dem Cllr Pippa Connor said responses to the consultation showed people wanted to keep the home open and there were no beds available at other homes rated good or outstanding by the CQC to take Osborne’s residents.

However, Charlotte Pomeroy, Haringey’s assistant commissioning director, replied there were “more than enough vacancies” in neighbouring boroughs.

Haringey’s adult social services director, Beverley Tarka, said Osborne Grove staff had failed to pay attention to the needs of patients.

“It’s not about about interaction. It’s about attention to nutritional needs, clinical needs, how that is responded to, how that is recorded, how that is thrown upwards to management so we can ensure patients are kept safe,” Ms Tarka said.

“We know moving [patients] can be traumatic, but independent advocates have been made available. We will work at the pace of every individual. Evidence shows when people are moved to a better standard of care they improve significantly.

“Despite significant management oversight we are still seeing poor performance,” she added.

After Haringey’s chiefs opted for closure, Mr Peters said: “They showed a rather shameless disregard both for the arguments to keep Osborne Grove open and make full use of such a well-sited and valuable resource.

“This is a travesty of local democracy,” he added.

Save Autism Services Haringey campaigner Mary Langan, also at the meeting, said: “Haringey has closed virtually all its social care support facilities. Osborne Grove was the last facility of its kind and Haringey had promised it would be developed to provide a range of vital nursing care and support services.

“Instead it has been mismanaged to the point that closure is now the proposed option. It is a matter for despair that vulnerable people suffer as a result of Haringey’s broken promises and mismanagement,” she added.

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