‘Bring them home’ - MP’s plea for care home victims

Alexander Court Care Home.
Alexander Court Care Home.

Vulnerable residents who were moved from a disgraced Harrogate care home should be brought back to Harrogate, MP Andrew Jones has said.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough MP has issued a plea to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to bring displaced residents from disgraced care home, Alexander Court, back nearer to their families.

The care home was found to be unfit to provide nursing care in July and its nursing registration was removed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

A dozen elderly residents had to be relocated and due to a shortage of bed spaces in Harrogate the residents were relocated throughout the County.

Many have serious medical conditions including dementia and visits from family are a great comfort to them and their relatives. These have become difficult due to the distances that are now involved.

Families have complained that their relatives were moved too far from Harrogate when the nursing care aspect of the home was closed in July.

Liz Campbell’s father was moved to Ripon, she said: “My father was in Alexander Court until they suddenly informed my mother at 4pm one afternoon whilst she was visiting him that he had to be out by midday the next day.

“My 85-year-old mother visits every day so has to get a bus to Ripon and back and a taxi because there isn’t a bus to take her back to the station. She shouldn’t be doing this at her age.”

Patricia Richie visited her ex-husband James Ackroyd who suffers from dementia every week when he was at Alexander Court but has only managed to make the journey to his new care home in Selby once.

“I had to get a friend to drive me there, it is a 50-minute journey and I am not a confident driver. It is just too far and it all happened in such a rush.”

Mr Jones, who described the lack of appropriate care at the home as ‘shocking’, is calling on NYCC to bring the former residents back to be near their families and friends.

Commenting, Mr Jones said: “We want to become a dementia-friendly town. It is a campaign I support. Here we have an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to this aim. It is an opportunity we must not let pass.

“The former residents of Alexander Court have been let down by those who were supposed to care for them. The county council acted quickly to relocate them to places where the appropriate care was available. It had little choice but to place them where there were vacancies in the emergency situation.

“It is now some weeks on. Families and friends are having to make long journeys and are able to see relatives less often. The emergency relocation was necessary but now, after this amount of time, we need to be helping a return to normality for the patients and their families. We need to bring them home.”

Mr Jones has contacted NYCC and they have promised to look at the situation and see what can be done to relocate former care home residents nearer to their families.

Last week the Advertiser revealed that Esteem Care Ltd plan to completly shut down the Cornwall Road Care Home in the next three months, forcing 28 elderly residents to search for a new home.

A spokesman for Esteem Care Ltd said: “Esteem Care Ltd is working closely with North Yorkshire County Council to facilitate the smooth transfer of all of our residents. The welfare and safety of our residents is our most important concern. Our staff team have served Alexander Court with the utmost loyalty and will continue to care for our residents during this transitional period.

“The home will continue to operate as normal until the very last resident leaves.”

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