Haringey Council: 'No evidence of Legionella cases' at Mary Feilding Guild

Residents were given less than three months notice to leave

Residents outside the Highgate care home - Credit: Polly Hancock

Haringey Council says there is “no evidence of any cases of legionella infection” at Mary Feilding Guild. 

The Highgate care home’s new owner, Mitesh Dhanak, claimed last week there was “widespread Legionella” at the facility, and that it was awaiting “urgent advice” on whether the home was safe to remain open.  

Haringey Council confirmed Legionella was found in water samples, but Highgate councillor Liz Morris (Lib Dem) challenged the new owner’s failure to mention the bacteria, until now.  

The nursing home was sold by Mary Feilding Guild, a charitable trust, to Highgate Care, a private company, on March 4.  

Sixteen elderly residents aged between 85 to 104 were told to leave by the end of May, prompting criticism of the closure, amid concern for the health of residents.  

Highgate Care owner Mitesh Dhanak

Highgate Care owner Mitesh Dhanak - Credit: Highgate Care

Cllr Morris told the Ham&High: “During previous discussions with councillors Highgate Care did not cite legionella as a reason for closing the home.   

“This is highlighted in responses to my enquiries where the council does not indicate that legionella samples are a reason to shut the home earlier than planned and do not put residents at significant risk.  

"It is vital that Highgate Care give residents ample time to find alternative care arrangements, and that they confirm their promise to keep Mary Feilding Guild as a care home.” 

A relative of a Mary Feilding Guild resident, who asked not to be named, said it was “convenient” for the new owner to have a “ready-made excuse to shut the home down immediately”.

Mary Feilding Guild, in View Road

Mary Feilding Guild, in View Road - Credit: Polly Hancock

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West said she was pleased there was no evidence of Legionella cases, adding: "But if the owners had any concerns they should have supported residents, not kicked them out of their homes in the middle of a pandemic”.

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Dr Will Maimaris, Haringey’s director of public health, said it was working to ensure any remedial actions on Legionella were carried out.  

“There is no evidence of any cases of legionella infection in the care home at present, but we continue to work with the home to ensure any risks to residents are identified and minimised," Dr Maimaris said. 

A spokesperson for Highgate Care said it had nothing further to add beyond its statement last week, which cited a "number of significant issues" that "have led us to question why the home has remained open as long as it has".

The spokesperson added that it would issue a comment regarding Legionella “when there is any news to share”.