Elderly and vulnerable ‘will die because of Highgate housing trauma’

Elderly and infirm residents will be put at risk if forced out of their homes as a result of redevelopment plans and a care home’s closure, it has been warned.

About 50 older people in Highgate face an uncertain future as a result of the imminent closure of Newstead Nursing Home in Denewood Road and proposals to overhaul another block of flats for pensioners.

Newstead patients are “traumatised” after being left in the dark for weeks about where they would be re-homed.

Meanwhile, tenants of Goldsmiths Court in Shepherds Hill face being temporarily re-housed while properties are enlarged, upgraded and more are built.

Like nearly all the tenants, John McGovern, 64, has a debilitating medical condition and worries about the medical impact of a house move.

The retired film editor, who has kidney failure, said: “People will die. People won’t live to get back in here. There’s a woman upstairs who’s basically bed-ridden. Nobody wants to go.”

Fellow tenant Alison Judge, 68, has brittle bone disease.

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She said: “I’m gutted. How am I supposed to move? I can’t even lift anything. I hurt everywhere.”

The 16 tenants were told earlier this month that social landlord Hornsey Housing Trust was considering redeveloping the flats.

It claims the current flats are too small, uncomfortable and increasingly difficult to let, and promised tenants their rent wouldn’t increase and that “suitable accommodation” would be provided in the interim. It has promised to pay moving costs.

Mike Kennedy, 64, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “It would be painful enough for a fit young person but throw everything else in and it becomes a lot more daunting.”

A Hornsey Housing Trust spokesman said the flats need updating to meet people’s needs, and that the trust would not move any resident if it would expose them to “unnecessary risk”.

He said: “Some productive conversations have already taken place with residents as a result, and further opportunities will be given for them to express their views.”

Newstead Nursing Home residents were told two days before Christmas

that their home was closing, and say they have been given almost no information on their relocation. Its closure follows a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report in December which found that the level of care was “below standard”.

Eldridge Culverwell’s 89-year-old mother was one of three council-funded patients to be relocated by Haringey Council to another Highgate care home.

The future remains unclear for the other occupants.

He said: “A lot of patients become fatalities when these things happen because they feel so traumatised.”

A spokesman for Newstead’s owners Gold Care Homes said the decision was not taken lightly and it “understands the impact on the lives of residents, families and staff”. He said it was working to ensure residents “are inconvenienced as little as possible whilst being transferred to other appropriate care settings”.