William Eichler 14 January 2020

Union calls for Sanctuary Care homes to be brought ‘back in-house’

The union Unite is urging local authorities who have contracts with Sanctuary Care to bring them ‘back in-house’ after a criminal investigation was launched into one of its care homes.

A criminal investigation into Garside House care home in Westminster has been launched after a CQC inspection concluded that residents ‘were placed at undue risk of harm’.

The inspection found instances of serious medication errors, residents being wrongfully deprived of liberty, dehydration, understaffing and a lack of training.

Unite, which has more than 100 members across the Sanctuary Group, says it has ‘consistently warned’ that Sanctuary’s ‘relentless’ attacks on the pay and conditions of low paid staff would put vulnerable people at risk.

The running of the nursing home was outsourced by Westminster City Council in 2015. Some Sanctuary staff, according to the union, are paid just £8.54 an hour – £2 below the London living wage.

‘The CQC report on Garside House shows that something is clearly wrong with the way Sanctuary is operating,’ commented Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed.

‘Unite members at Sanctuary Care have consistently warned the firm’s relentless cost cutting to staff pay and conditions would put vulnerable people at risk.

‘Sanctuary’s management cannot be held directly responsible for the actions of a few individuals. But relying on a low paid, overworked and underresourced workforce to provide vital care services increases the risk of what happened at Garside House occurring elsewhere.’

‘We urge all local authorities who have contracts with Sanctuary Care to bring them back in-house and for Sanctuary bosses to improve pay and conditions for staff, which is not only the right thing to do but necessary to improve standards,’ Ms Ahmed said.

Sanctuary Care has been contacted for a response.

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