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Union concerns over closure of Barnet Council’s Apthorp health center UK News

A union has criticized Barnet Council for closing a care home that will put 93 “heroes of Covid” at risk of dismissal.

On August 20, staff working at the Apthorp care center at Nurserymans Road in Brunswick Park were informed of the council’s plan to relocate residents of the 82-bed facility, which cares for vulnerable elderly people.

The council says the care home requires “major work” that would cause “major disruption” to residents.

But the Barnet branch of the Unison union has raised concerns about the impact on staff – who had only recently been hailed as Covid heroes for working during the pandemic – and the safety of vulnerable and elderly residents. faced with moves to new homes.

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Helen Davies, Barnet Unison Branch President, said: “Nursing home and daycare workers will have their lives tossed in the air months after banners from the nursing home proclaimed them heroes. for the way they handled the pandemic.

“There was absolutely no engagement with staff, residents, their families or unions at any time to consider how Apthorp could be made viable. The cornerstone of activism for people with disabilities – nothing about us without us – has been totally and completely ignored.

Barnet Council outsourced its care homes in 2001. Apthorp – designed to care for people with dementia, mental disorders and physical disabilities – was one of 11 homes sold to Catalyst Housing (then Ealing Family Housing Association) and managed by a charity, The Fremantle Confidence.

The facility was demolished and rebuilt around 2004. But in 2019 it was brought back under council control shortly after an inspection by a care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission ruled the house ” inadequate “.

In August, staff were told of the council and Your Choice Barnet had decided to vacate the house by October 31 after polls conducted following recent emergency work found “significant levels of repairs” were being made. required.

The decision endangers the jobs of 84 staff working in the care home and nine in a day care center.

Barnet Unison accused the council of trying to “speed up” the residents’ move in less than two months, which he said “does not leave enough time to prepare and support vulnerable residents.”

Barnet Council said in a statement: “Your Choice Barnet and Barnet Council are working with residents of Apthorp Care Center in Brunswick Park to help them move to alternative care homes.

“The decision to leave the Apthorp Care Center was made on the basis of the well-being of the residents. Recent building inspections have identified the need for major work to improve fire safety systems and meet contemporary standards. The scale of the work required would cause major disruption to residents over a long period of time.

Dawn Wakeling, the council’s executive director of adults and health, said the authority “will work closely with residents and their families to ensure they have the best network of care available to them.”

She added, “Your Choice Barnet will help every staff member find alternative employment through redeployment and job search assistance. Work is also underway to secure another location for the day center provided from the same site, where nine other employees are employed. ”

Julie Riley, director of care and support for The Barnet Group, thanked the staff at Apthorp “for their dedicated service, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.”

She added, “This decision was not taken lightly and we appreciate the impact it will have on residents as well as staff. We will consult one-on-one with employees and their union representatives and support them in the next steps. We are a large employer and there are many options across the organization for redeployment into other roles.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-28 10:44:30

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