Westminster Labour Councillors have ‘called in’ an attempt by the Council to hand the current temporary contractor running the Beachcroft Care Home, the new council owned facility in Maida Vale, a 12 month contract extension without providing much needed nursing care or properly exploring the option of bringing the service back in house under council control.
Up until 2015 the Council directly operated its own care homes before outsourcing the service to Sanctuary Care in 2015. The Sanctuary contract was fraught with problems, including concerns over the mistreatment of residents, that led the Council to cancel their contract in 2020 after sustained pressure from Labour. The management of care at Beachcroft (the new facility that replaced the Carlton Deane and Westmead Care Homes) has been managed by Gold Care Homes ever since on a series of temporary contracts.
The current situation raises real concerns over Westminster’s approach to outsourcing and the state of the outsourced care market. The Council is proposing a further temporary extension of the Gold Care contract because it was unable to find long-term contractors. Despite this procurement problem the Council is so far unwilling to seriously examine the option for the service to be brought in house so it can be properly compared against any new long-term proposals that may or may not be brought forward by the private sector.
Labour are also deeply concerned that the Council has rejected proposals as part of this temporary contract that would enable the provision of nursing care at Beachcroft for those who need it over the coming year. This is despite Westminster confirming that nursing care should be part of the services offered to residents at Beachcroft, to prevent residents whose needs increase having to move out less than 12 months after they arrived to receive nursing care.
The ‘Call-in’ procedure forces the council to review the decision at an upcoming scrutiny committee meeting before it pushes ahead with its plans.
Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Cllr Nafsika Butler-Thalassis said “Westminster council is proposing to renew the temporary contract for Beachcroft, but without any nursing care provision and without properly exploring other options such providing the service in house that could improve service quality and reduce staff turnover, even though there are real concerns at they may still struggle to find an external partner. Westminster’s addiction to outsourcing is leaving Beachcroft residents without long-term stability.”