New CareUK home Mildenhall Lodge had scarcely opened when the Care Quality Commission (QVC) issued it with an enforcement order “to protect the health, safety and welfare of people using this service.”
CQC findings included the wrong diet given to a diabetes sufferer, the inability to find staff, call bells left ringing and “a patient being hospitalised because their food was not correctly prepared.”
The partner of one resident said that “there is never enough staf ”, that his partner was “in bed most of the day” and had “been left with soiled clothing. When CareUK took over from Suffolk County Council very experienced staff left. Since they went to Mildenhall Lodge problems have got worse. I have raised these concerns many times with SCC and Care UK and they never sort it out, or admit there is an issue.”
Now after an emergency inspection, new admissions to a second CareUK home, Asterbury Place in Ipswich, have been stopped. There is no mention ofthese scandals on CareUK’s cheery website.
Stradbroke Court and Blyford in Lowestoft and The Dell in Beccles, described by staff as “where we learned to do things correctly”, have also been turned over to CareUK and a new home, Britten Court, is being built to house the residents. Experienced staff have left and new staff hired on worse conditions. UNISON reports that staff wages have been cut by up to 14%. The neglect is predictable.
Suffolk County Council’s deal commits them to sending 370 elderly people to CareUK homes and paying more than to other homes — because CareUK, they say, has had to borrow to pay forthe new homes (£60m from Schroeders and Legal and General). Money meant for care goes to CareUK and to the banks.
CareUK has form. It was stripped of the 1 contract to provide home care to elderly people in Broadland, Norfolk. Its notorious ‘ conduct towards care _. workers and nurses in Doncaster, of cutting pay and downgrading conditions, has provoked . a strike which has so far lasted over 80 days.
Britten Court’s opening has now been “postponed” but the underlying conditions of the privatisation remain. CareUK pay its staff at the very least a living wage? Will it guarantee high quality training so that residents can be cared for com passionately and professionally? Or will proﬁt come ﬁrst?
Will Ca reUK even face rigorous questioning? A CareUK smoothie said that things were being put right while SC Councillor DrAlan Murray defended the sell-off and said that he was “encouraged.” And that was the end of that. LCAC called the deal between Suffolk County Council and CareUK “shameful” when it was proposed in 2012. It should be terminated and CareUK should be prosecuted.