Review to be held over Hazel Garth care home closure decision

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Wakefield Council is to carry out a review into the temporary closure of one its care homes.

The decision to shut Hazel Garth, in Knottingley, led to an outcry after vulnerable residents, including some with dementia, were told they had to leave the home within 24 hours.

Staff were also given no warning, the GMB union said, and residents had their belongings gathered into bin bags.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Relatives were informed on May 23 that the residents would have to move out of the home the following day.

The decision to shut Hazel Garth, in Knottingley, led to an outcry after vulnerable residents, including some with dementia, were told they had to leave the home within 24 hours.The decision to shut Hazel Garth, in Knottingley, led to an outcry after vulnerable residents, including some with dementia, were told they had to leave the home within 24 hours.
The decision to shut Hazel Garth, in Knottingley, led to an outcry after vulnerable residents, including some with dementia, were told they had to leave the home within 24 hours.

Days later, the council issued a statement saying the closure was “temporary” and no jobs were at risk.

The authority said the home will re-open and the decision was taken due to “a combination of the care needs of residents, the physical condition of the building, and staff availability.”

Wakefield Council chief executive Tony Reeves has confirmed a review over the incident will now take place.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “The safety and wellbeing of those in our care will always be our top priority.

“Following the recent temporary closure of Hazel Garth care home we’ve instigated a review.

“This will help us to identify any lessons we can learn from that decision and how it was implemented.”

Yvette Cooper, who is standing for re-election as the Labour MP for Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley on July 4, said she had asked Mr Reeves to call the review after being contacted by relatives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “The letter and fallout from it caused vulnerable elderly residents and their families immense distress.

“Some residents were moved at speed, causing trauma and disruption and considerable concern to their families, who did not really have time to plan or assess alternative accommodation.”

Ms Cooper also claimed affected staff were not fully briefed and feared they would lose their jobs.

She said: “The GMB union discovered that staff were given to understand that the home would be permanently closing – although I understand they have since been told that it will re-open.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“For these reasons, I wrote to Mr Reeves to ask for a proper investigation into what has happened here – into how the situation was managed and the run-up to the decision, and also into the way the decision was then handled with residents, family, staff and local stakeholders.

“I welcome that the chief executive has agreed to this review and that all of the elements of concern will be considered.”

The council’s Liberal Democrat group, which holds all three council seats in Knottingley, also welcomed the review.

Group leader Pete Girt said: “This was a decision taken by a Labour-run council.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think it is a bit of a cheek for Yvette Cooper to then be trying to act like the knight in shining armour.

“It was a disgraceful decision in the first place and it was heartbreaking to listen to residents’ stories.

“The closure of Hazel Garth was something I wanted to ask questions about at a full council meeting next week (June19).

“But the Labour mayor has cancelled the meeting, so everyone will still be waiting for answers.”