Care home in Kent triggers shutdown with 10 hours of notice given to families

Berkeley House tells families their loved ones have to leave the care home by 5pm, after no longer being able to provide safe care

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Berkeley House care home in Kent, which cared for adults with autism and severe learning difficulties, has closed after becoming severely short-staffed.

The care home's operator announced that it could no longer provide safe care due to a lack of staff, giving families 10 hours of notice to find new homes for residents.

The operator informed families at 7.30am that their relatives would have to leave Berkeley House by 5pm. Families had previously been told by the operators that the move would happen after 28 days, four days before the operator announced the change.

The operator, Achieve Together, has said they decided to close the home “due to our inability to recruit and retain staff we were unable to continue to provide a good standard of care”.

Achieve Together added that the Care Quality Commission regulator and the local authority “determined that people’s needs would be better met in alternative provision” after an inspection.

Speaking with The Guardian, Yola and Graham Wakefield described “heart-breaking scenes” as families arrived at the care home to collect their loved ones. Yola and Graham Wakefield 29-year-old son Michael lived at the care home for a decade.

This comes after care groups and charities have said the Government’s 10-year “vision” to improve social care needs more funding to pull the sector “back from the brink”.

Groups said the funding does not match its long-term ambition and the plans do not address the most pressing immediate issues facing the sector – workforce challenges, unmet need and a fragile provider market – ahead of a challenging winter.

The Government unveiled its social care white paper, which gives further details on how some of the previously announced £5.4 billion – to be raised for social care by the £36 billion health and social care levy – will be spent over the next three years.

Part of the £1.7 billion allocated to improve social care will fund a repairs service to help older and disabled people live for longer with their families or independently in their own homes.

They will get more money to enable adaptations such as stairlifts, wet rooms and home technologies through the Disabled Facilities Grant.

At least £300 million will be invested to increase the range of supported housing and at least £150 million to drive greater adoption of technology, which can support independent living and improve care.

Up to £25 million will be invested to change the services provided to support unpaid carers and increase their access to respite services.

A previously announced £500 million will go towards ensuring the social care workforce have the right training and qualifications and feel valued.