Care-workers stage sit-in at residential home over pay protest
Tuesday 2nd October 2018 17:33 News Posted by Lauren Entwistle

Care-workers at a residential home in Stalybridge say they had to use £5,000 of their own money to buy food for residents after the company operating the site went into insolvency.

Workers at Carson House Care Home on Stamford Street organised a sit-in on Tuesday claiming they were owed thousands of pounds in wages by the private owner.

Some said they now faced eviction from their own homes and had been left unable to feed their families and pay bills because they had not been paid themselves.

It is understood some 30 residents were removed from the home earlier last week after the home received an inadequate Care Quality Commission rating.

Some care staff and families raised concerns about moving a number of residents, a number of whom require round the clock care, fearing it would prove too stressful for them.

One former resident, whose family live locally, has had to be relocated to Durham.

Heather Craine, 60, House Administrator, says that something must be done to stop anything like this happening again.

“Staff are at a quandary as they have no money, they can’t pay their council tax and rents with some being taken to court to be evicted,” she said.

“We’ve had wages paid at 80 per cent, then had to wait 15 days for the rest and now we’re being paid nothing… all the while staff are getting further and further in debt.

“The owner had been warned previously and had the opportunity to amend the situation and didn’t, so everything had to be escalated to the position we’re in now – where staff have no money, agencies are on the verge of going bust.”

She said one of the residents had sadly passed away since the home had been closed.

“Residents, because of the financial instability of the company, were moved out pretty quickly. Sadly, one died within four days of moving. His family begged us not to move him. They knew this was going to happen. We knew this was going to happen because they had complex needs and no one knew, other than us, how to look after those complex needs.”

Heather is now calling for more safeguards to be put in place, such as a government white paper, to protect and safeguard residents and staff across the country.

Many are experienced carers, with one woman losing her job without redundancy pay after working at the home for 18 years.

Anna Holden, Senior Team Leader, said: “We all work in care, but now I don’t think any of us would work in care again. To see what has happened and what these residents have been through… it’s just sad.”

Agencies like KarePlus, which supplied five support-workers are also feeling the strain, being owed £37,000 in unpaid wages.

Nnamdi Oruiwa, the branch director of KarePlus said: “We are in a very difficult situation because of this – £37,000 is a lot of money and it’s a miracle that we are still in business.”

Cllr Jan Jackson and Cllr Adrian Pearce, both of Stalybridge North, visited the home on Tuesday to show their solidarity with the protesting care-workers.

Cllr Jackson said: “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the staff of Carson House who deserve to feel valued for the vital services they provide, with some of the residents having highly complex needs and who required 24 hour care, which takes such dedication and commitment.”

She said: “The CQC had placed an order of closure on the home and 74 carers have been left without pay, and it shouldn’t be allowed.”

Cllr Pearce added: “We’ve asked the council how best to help the staff and give them advice on moving forward.”

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “Carson House is privately owned and the owner – not the council – has responsibility for paying staff wages.

“Following the home receiving an inadequate Care Quality Commission rating, we made the decision not to place people there and took steps to move existing residents out.

“We held daily risk meetings and found alternative placements for all residents – we needed to do this quickly as the Home Manager informed us he didn’t have staffing levels to meet the needs of the people living there and also the owners had made the decision to close the home.

“We worked with families to support people to move out to alternative care homes and, although some residents were initially reluctant to leave, no one was moved against their will.

“While the home was operating we did everything possible to work with the owners to ensure there was a full staffing complement (sometimes having to bring in staff ourselves to ensure staffing was at safe levels), reduce risks and support residents.”

The home was given an ‘Inadequate’ rating by the CQC following an unannounced inspection in December last year – an inspection which also raised concern about ‘the financial position of the registered provider’.

In summary the report stated: “Breaches were identified in relation to fit and proper persons checks, lack of social support and meaningful activities, staff training ,supervision and induction, lack of accurate information in the statement of purpose, concerns regarding the financial position of the registered provider, environmental risk assessments, systems to monitor the safety and quality of the service and governance systems that lack robustness. We are currently considering our options in relation to enforcement in response to some of the breaches of regulations identified.

“The overall rating for this service is ‘Inadequate’ and the service is therefore in ‘special measures’. Services in special measures will be kept under review and, if we have not taken immediate action to propose to cancel the provider’s registration of the service, will be inspected again within six months. The expectation is that providers found to have been providing inadequate care should have made significant improvements within this timeframe. If not enough improvement is made within this timeframe so that there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.

“This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve. This service will continue to be kept under review and, if needed, could be escalated to urgent enforcement action. Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement so there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question overall, we will take action to prevent the provider from operating this service. This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of registration.”

The full report can be read at

https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/INS2-4529957973.pdf 

The provider of services for Carson House is listed as Mr David Hetherington Messenger, whom we are attempting to contact for his comment.