Hope of reprieve for residents at care home facing closure threat

ELDERLY people who face having to move after it emerged the 
owner of their care home had been jailed for grievous bodily harm have been told a last-
minute solution could be on the cards.

At the end of last week, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is responsible for regulating care homes, said it would be forced to close Melton Court in Maltby, Rotherham, in light of its owners’ conviction.

Officials from the CQC said they had made the decision after the discovered that Ishtiaq Zahir, the man named on official paperwork as Melton Court’s owner, had been sent to prison in 2010 after attacking another man in Bradford.

Zahir was jailed for eight years for both grievous bodily harm 
and actual bodily harm, and the commission said as soon as it became aware it issued a notice that the home’s licence could be revoked

The CQC said home operators are able to appeal against the decision, but the commission said no appeal had been received, meaning the home was now operating illegally, a situation which meant its 21 residents would have to move out.

But yesterday, a CQC spokesman said it was aware of interest from another care home operator and said it would be keen to move forward with any potential new owner to save the residents the trauma of having to move out.

The spokesman added: “CQC has been informed that an alternative provider already registered with the Commission has expressed an interest in taking over ownership of Melton Court.

“We have not yet received any application but, if received, will give this our full and urgent attention.”

Family members yesterday welcomed the news their elderly relatives could be given a pre-Christmas reprieve, because some had been concerned that the move could have affected their health or worse.

Bob Holmes, the chairman of a group of relatives who had called on Rotherham Council to take action to save the care home, said there was relief at the news as Christmas approached.

“They really were worried that suddenly going off into homes in Dinnington or other places all over the shop that some of them wouldn’t actually have stood it,” he added.

“So it is excellent medical news as well as Christmas is coming and thank goodness this isn’t going to happen.”

Residents were told last Friday that the home would have to close within 10 days, and the council has sounded a note of caution over the new deal because nothing had yet been agreed.

The council has 16 social services funded residents at the home, while five are privately funded, but officials said they were prepared to help all 21 regardless of their situation.

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said yesterday that the transfer of residents from Melton Court had now “paused” in the wake of the developments involving a new care provider.

The spokesman could not say which company was interested in the home but added: “The authority has been informed of potential interest in Melton Court from other care providers.

“Although this might seem confusing and upsetting to the 21 residents it would obviously be totally unnecessary to move them if there is the potential for anyone to take the business over.

“We will obviously discuss the latest developments with residents and their relatives as their well-being is our priority.

“We will then wait for further information from the Care Quality Commission and representatives of the current owner of Melton Court.”