Councillors have been extremely concerned after being told that serious allegations have been made about the standard of care at the Garside House Nursing Home on Regency Street, which has seen the suspension of several members of staff and an ongoing police investigation.
Garside House has been run by Sanctuary Care through a Westminster Council-run contract as part of a joint outsourcing arrangement with the local NHS. Garside had recently been found to be require improvement in its 2019 Care Quality Commission inspection, though these recent concerns have only recently come to light as the result of a whistle-blower.
In addition to Garside the Council owned, Sanctuary run residential home Carlton Dene was found to be requiring improvement in all areas in its 2019 CQC inspection. Following these inspection reports and further concerns around Sanctuary Labour called on the council to look to end Sanctuary’s contract and bring the service back in house in June. However Westminster Labour had been raising alarm bells over the culture inside Sanctuary-run homes as early as 2017 when large numbers of experience staff were leaving local care homes to be replaced by staff paid below the minimum wage.
Westminster Labour Group have put forward a motion to full council on Wednesday 13th November calling for urgent action to end the Council’s relationship with Sanctuary, bring Council owned services back in house and launch an independent review into what had happened.
Westminster Labour Group leader Cllr Adam Hug said:
“The serious allegations about the standard of care at Garside House Nursing Home run by Sanctuary Care on behalf of Westminster Council and the NHS are deeply concerning.
Labour called on Westminster Council to end its relationship with Sanctuary back in June and given these deeply troubling allegations it is essential that this happens urgently. It is clear that the outsourced arrangements with the NHS are not fit for purpose. We believe this unaccountable outsourcing has to stop and that the council’s residential and nursing care should be brought back in house to make them more accountable and to improve standards for local residents.”
The Labour Motion to be debated at full council at Full Council on Wednesday November 13th 2019
The Council notes the deeply troubling situation in Garside House and wider concerns about standards and practices at Sanctuary-run care homes in Westminster.
The Council believes that all residents of Westminster’s Care Homes should be treated with dignity and looked after to the highest possible standards.
The Council also believes that the current outsourced arrangements where homes are managed by Sanctuary Care are not fit for purpose.
The Council further believes that more direct and consistent oversight of the functioning of the Council’s care homes and relevant facilities being created in the SHSOP programme will be required in future to ensure all residents get the standard of care they deserve.
The Council resolves to ask Cabinet/the relevant Cabinet Member to:
- Work to remove operational control of care homes in Westminster from Sanctuary as soon as is legally possible
- Appoint an independent review of bi-borough contract management in Adult Social Care
- Take steps to end the joint contracting and management arrangements for care homes with the NHS so that Westminster retains responsibility only for the homes it owns
- Restore direct council management of council owned care homes in Westminster