Residents’ distress over festive season

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I WAS pleased to see the article published in last week’s edition concerning the recent events at Beaufort Court.

It was an extremely distressing time for all concerned, not least for my mother, a resident of five years standing.

She was one of several people who needed to be hospitalised during the Christmas period.

Not only was the one and only lift out of action, but the situation was exacerbated by the lack of any staff whatsoever for five days.

There has been a systematic, national, policy to withdraw all residential staff from establishments which have, hitherto, offered a facility of care. Beaufort is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the area and they too lost the last of their residential wardens on March 30, 2011.

The landlords, Southern Housing Group, retained the management of the building and ‘farmed out’ the care element to In Touch.

The SHG employee works the equivalent of three days a week - insufficient in a building of this size, a client group of 100plus. 2011 has been beset with a catalogue of disasters: ongoing faults with new lift, water leak resulting in residents being left without drinking water for nearly a week, ill-conceived and mismanaged introduction of independent utility providers - the list goes on.

Over the Christmas period the SHG employee was not on site until 3rd January, leaving residents floundering with so-called emergency numbers to contact i.e. call centres.

The In Touch employee returned to Beaufort Court on December 28, which meant for five days there was on authoriative figure on site.

No lift, no staff, and on Christmas Day the front door lock proved faulty and would not shut properly.

Thus compounding the increasing sense of isolation, abandonment and vulnerability felt by so many of the residents.

Not a very happy Christmas I feel.

VIVIENNE UPTON

Magdalen Road

St Leonards