One of the county’s major care providers is to close its remaining three homes in Cambridgeshire.
HC-One confirmed closure of the Cambridge in Chesterton, Cambridge; The Gables in Whittlesey and the Red House in Ramsey.
Last year it closed its other two homes, the Elms in Whittlesey and Manor House at Upwood.
HC-One runs 275 care homes across the UK but has been forced to respond to serious complaints in Cambridgeshire.
Last year Cambridgeshire County Council told HC-One that they would no longer be contracted to provide care home beds under the terms of a ‘block contract’ – worth £64million over 15 years.
This followed the county council calling in the national regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to investigate persistent concerns about quality of care at The Elms care home in Whittlesey. The Elms in Arnold Lane closed a year ago and is being offered for sale for £900,000.
Closure of its last three care homes follows a break down in talks between the council and the NHS.
A joint statement from HC-One, Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough was issued today.
“It is with much regret that HC-One has informed Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough of its decision to close three homes in Cambridgeshire – The Cambridge in Chesterton, Cambridge; The Gables in Whittlesey and The Red House in Ramsey,” said the statement.
“The three homes were placed under admissions embargo in July 2022 by Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, following quality concerns.”
The statement added: “HC-One, Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough have invested significant time and effort into these homes, focusing on making improvements and addressing the concerns raised.
“Whilst there have been improvements made at the homes during this time, acknowledged by the CQC, Cambridgeshire County Council and HC-One have been unable to reach an agreement on the improvements and on lifting the embargo, and restarting admissions into these homes.
“HC-One has therefore decided that the three homes are now no longer operationally and financially viable, which has unfortunately resulted in their decision to begin the closure process of the three homes.
“This is a disappointing decision for everyone involved.
“We recognise the impact this will have on residents, families, and staff at these homes.
“HC-One, Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough will work together with residents, their families, and staff through the closure process, and to find new care placements sensitively and safely.
“The homes will not close until all residents have moved to their new care placements.
Last year CambsNews revealed that the Elms at Whittlesey was found by the local government ombudsman to be providing “very poor care and treatment”.
HC-One later announced its closure after admitting they were not able to “provide the right standards of care”.
It followed mounting criticism of the home which first became public earlier last 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.
Following that revelation, the relatives of three people who all died in 2019 and were all residents of The Elms aired their complaints.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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