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‘I fear for mum’s health if she has to leave Finsbury Park care home’

Daughter warns that residents could die after move to bigger home

26 April, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Josephine, centre, with, from left, granddaughter Katie Nicolaou, daughter Frances Storey, grandson Kevin Brennan, daughter Alexandra Brennan and daughter Gaby Nicolaou

THE family of a woman in the borough’s last NHS-run care home have hit out at health chiefs for earmarking it for closure in a cost-cutting move.

Violetta Nicolaou, 56, said her mother Josephine was “settled” at Stacey Street Care Home, in Finsbury Park. A forced move to a private facility would see her health rapidly decline, she fears.

As revealed in the Tribune last month, the 19-bed home is due to shut, with residents and staff having the option of moving to St Anne’s Care Home, run by healthcare company Forest Healthcare, half-a-mile away.

Ms Nicolaou, who lives in Enfield, said: “There are 15 people in Stacey Street and the ratio of staff to patients is really good.

“The staff can currently contain any aggression from the residents and it really is because it’s a small place. There will be 60-odd patients in the new place and I don’t know how many staff members will be mental- health trained.

“I’m not sure if people will be looked after as well in such a big place. It’ll be less intimate.”

Stacey Street Care Home, in Finsbury Park

The home’s closure will bring savings of  £200,000 to £475,000 a year, according to Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS body which plans and buys healthcare for the borough. It is headed by GPs.

Ms Nicolaou believes mixing residents from Stacey Street – who have mental health issues and complex needs – with those in St Anne’s may cause problems for everyone.

“Some of the residents can’t compute what is right and wrong,” she said. “I’m worried my mother may be sent to a mental health hospital. That was awful.”

Ms Nicolaou’s mother lived in Durham Road, Finsbury Park, after moving to Britain from Egypt as a girl. She suffers from dementia and needs round-the-clock care, paid for by the council.

Town Hall health chief Councillor Janet Burgess has said residents would benefit from en-suite bathrooms at St Anne’s, but Ms Nicolaou said she preferred the current arrangement, where residents have a shared bathroom. The council has approved planning permission for 15 new en-suite rooms to be built alongside the existing 50 bedrooms at St Anne’s.

Ms Nicolaou said of her mother: “She’s too mentally challenged to think she has to bath every day. If she’s in St Anne’s with 60 people, they might assume she’s washed and changed if she has an en-suite. People in the current home are all secure and happy and they are aware of the layout.

“I’m confident that a lot of these patients will die because of the uncertainty of a new home.”

An Islington CCG spokeswoman said it had listened to the views of Stacey Street residents and their families.

“We have gathered these views and are now considering our response to the issues raised,” she added. “We expect to share our decision in late May and will continue to involve residents and their families.”

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