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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Closed nursing home to reopen under new bosses

A west Cumbrian nursing home once branded as failing is to reopen under new management.

Branthwaite nursing home photo
Paula Carruthers, registered manager Jacqueline McKenna, Westwinds' registered manager Maude Wilson and Cathy Keough outside the home

Branthwaite Nursing Home at Workington closed in January, with elderly residents forced to move out, after it was unable to recruit staff. It had been ordered to make urgent improvements back in 2012, when inspectors raised serious concerns about the welfare of residents.

Although it did improve, admissions remained suspended and in October last year bosses announced their decision to close.

The troubled home finally closed three months ago, blaming both long term issues and ongoing staffing problems.

But now the vacant home is being transformed.

It is set to reopen in June under new management – and with a new name, Fairways – creating 40 new jobs.

It has been taken over by Paula Carruthers, 50 and Cathy Keough, 53, who have run Harrington’s Westwinds home for more than 10 years.

Work has already started to overhaul the facility and the sisters-in-law said they hoped the first 18 beds would be ready by June. They also hope to create a bar, social club, library and gardens.

Mrs Carruthers said: “It will not be a nursing home, it will be a residential home and have a really strong community feel to it.

“More and more elderly people are using the internet now so we feel it is important to have these modern features. We also want to have places that residents can socialise and get together as a community.”

They hope to revamp 54 bedrooms at the new home.

Jacqueline McKenna, of Workington, has been appointed as manager.

Mrs Keough said: “We took on the challenge of developing the new home because we want to show that we can do want we do here in a bigger environment. There will still be that homely, family feel and we will have regular meetings with residents, as their input is key and will help to direct the way services are delivered.”

Branthwaite Nursing Home was previously owned by Executive Care Group.

In 2012, watchdog the Care Quality Commission told the company that immediate improvements had to be made after issuing it with a formal warning after national inspectors raised concerns about the safety and welfare of its residents.

The home was inspected twice in 2012 by the commission which on one unannounced visit found a diabetic patient with mental health problems had not received their medication. Their condition deteriorated so much that they ended up in hospital.

A third inspection that year by the commission revealed it was showing positive improvements.

Despite that, in October 2013 the company formally terminated its contracts with Cumbria County Council and NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and announced the closure due to issues the firm had been “unable to resolve” and an increase in staff turnover.

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