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Woman plans to move her father out of troubled Finsbury Park care home

Lennox House was given the lowest possible rating by a health watchdog after inspectors found there were ‘significant errors’ in the home’s handling of medicine

02 June, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Gemma Merrison said her father’s feeding tube hadn’t been cleaned during a some of her visits to Lennox House

A WOMAN has decided to take her frail father out of a Finsbury Park care home following a damning inspection – and the Tribune can reveal that NHS and Town Hall services have stopped referring people to it.

Lennox House care home, in Durham Road, was given the lowest possible rating by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), last month and put under “special measures”.

Inspectors found that the 87 residents at the home, run by private healthcare giant Care UK, were not stimulated with regular activities. There were “significant errors” in the home’s handling of medicine due to lack of stock and administration mistakes.

There was also no registered manager at the time of the inspection – something which is required by law. Now, Gemma Merrison, whose father Victor Edwards, 70, moved into the home last September after suffering a stroke, has decided to take him out. “Going into my dad’s room, he’s not been getting proper personal care,” Ms Merrison said. “He had sticky gunk in his eyes. I don’t think his teeth have been washed since he’s been in there.”

Victor Edwards, 70, moved into Lennox House last September after suffering a stroke

The mother-of-four said her father’s feeding tube hadn’t been cleaned during a few of her visits, with food “up to the top”.

“For people like my dad and other people in there, who can’t communicate, you need regular people to know their mannerisms, whether they’re in pain,” she said.

“You’ve got people going in and out, there one day, gone the next, there’s no consistency for those people who really need help.”

Mr Edwards was referred to Lennox House under the NHS’s continuing healthcare scheme, with the health service paying Care UK £1,400 a week for his care.

The Tribune has learned that Islington Council and Islington NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) stopped referring people to the home after the Town Hall’s own inspection last year.

Ms Merrison, 37, has requested that her father is transferred to Bridgeside Lodge care home, in Wharf Road, Angel. She believes The Forest Healthcare-run home, rated “outstanding” by the CQC, will be perfect for her father.

But she has been told by the NHS that there is a five-person-long waiting list for a bed in Islington.

Lennox House

“There’s not a lot I can do. I feel helpless about it. It’s a horrible thing having to wait for someone to die,” she added.

Mr Edwards, who lived most of his life in Highbury, was born in Leicestershire after his mother was evacuated there during the war. He worked his way up from plumber to operational support worker at Pentonville Prison but had to leave his job in 2013 to care for his wife, Glenis, who suffered from face cancer. She died the following year.

His first job was running a fresh seafood stall outside the Prince Alfred pub, in Marlborough Road, Holloway, and later owned a garage in Upper Holloway.

Ms Merrison said he was a skilful mechanic who still fiddles with his feeding tube to make it work better.

Care UK, which could lose the contract for running Lennox House if things fail to improve within 12 months, has apologised to residents and their families and appointed a new manager for the home.

Operations director Chris Hopkinson said: “We understand that the decision to move a relative to a different care home is never taken lightly and urge any relatives who are worried about the care provided at Lennox House to come in and talk to the new home manager as soon as possible.

“I am working alongside the local team with support from our very experienced governance colleagues to oversee an improvement plan. Our internal quality audits show that good progress has already been made.”

A CCG spokeswoman said: “Islington CCG is committed to working with Islington Council to improve and raise the standards of care at Lennox House for all residents.”

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