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A Whittlesey care home labelled by the local government ombudsman as being guilty of providing “very poor care and treatment” is to close.

HC-One will close the Elms after admitting not being able to “provide the right standards of care”.

It follows mounting criticism of the home which first became public earlier this year when I revealed that Cambridgeshire County Council had been told by the ombudsman to pay the widow of a 74-year-old man who died in care £5,000.

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The ombudsman found the council’s commissioned provider for the Elms in Whittlesey guilty of “very poor care and treatment”.

The Elms Care Home, Whittlesey Picture by Terry Harris.

Following that revelation, the relatives of three people who all died in 2019 and were all residents of The Elms – which has 25 residents – shared their concerns with the BBC.

Cllr Richard Howitt, chair of the adults and health committee of Cambridgeshire County Council said they took the decision to alert the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who are the national regulatory body, “to our concerns regarding The Elms care home.

“We fully support the enforcement action subsequently taken by the CQC to cancel the registration of The Elms operated by the national care provider HC-One.

“The county council had been working with HC-One to seek to address issues at The Elms that do not meet the standards of care that are required.

“We are deeply disappointed that they have not made the required improvements, leading to the closure of The Elms, meaning people must now move from their home.

The Elms Care Home, Whittlesey Picture by Terry Harris.

“In addition, it is regrettable that HC-One has decided to close the Manor House, a care home in Upwood.

“We explored options to keep both homes open so that residents wouldn’t need to move, but HC-One were unable to support these.

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“HC-One must answer for the decisions it has made. As a county council, we fully appreciate that this will be a difficult and worrying time for those affected and our focus is on making sure the residents and their families, are supported to find the care they need.

“I’d like to thank our dedicated and hardworking council staff who are supporting the residents and families involved.”

Manor House at Upwood has 22 residents.

Over the past two years the CQC, the NHS and the county council have worked to try and rectify the issues at The Elms but without success.

Margaret Canham, David Poole, and George Lowlett died in 2019 and the BBC is reporting that HC-One has also apologised to the family of Joyce Parrott, who died in April 2020.

Mrs Parrott’s daughter claimed that care home records with mixed up with a person of the same name, resulting in no effort being made to resuscitate her mother.

In a statement, HC-One said they were “deeply sorry”.

The company said that “these shortcomings in care all stem from a failure in local leadership and severe recruitment and retention challenges.

“This is a challenge that impacts the whole care sector – with the latest workforce data showing that more than 10 per cent of all roles in the sector are currently vacant – but have been acutely felt at The Elms.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story and will be updated later.

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