Relatives of an elderly patient have said they are appalled by the handling of a care home's sudden closure.

Staffs at Hawkwell Court in Colvin Gardens, Chingford have told relatives to seek alternative homes for their loved ones, as site-owner North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) plan to shut the facility.

The Chingford site which offers long-term stay for older patients suffering from mental health problems and learning disabilities, was saved from closure a decade ago after relatives of service users and Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith intervened.

The husband and son of 84 year-old patient Audrey Sparrow claim they were only told about the closure when a staff member asked where Ms Sparrow was being moved to during a recent visit.

Son Mike Sparrow, 49, of Mark Avenue in Chingford said his mother had resided in the care home for more than 15 years after her health deteriorated as a result of depression.

He said: "It was so sudden. It's terrible the way they've gone about it. My mother and all the other elderly people are being forced to move because they [NELFT] want to close it down.

A meeting was organised with the director of acute services only after we complained that we had been told last minute."  

Married for 58 years, husband Roy, 84, of Hall Lane in Chingford says the facility with its 'dedicated staff' was an 'ideal care home' for his wife.

"They have been systematically running down Hawkwell Court for a few years, possibly with the aim of closing it. The lack of information has been atrocious and trying to find out about its future has been virtually impossible from day dot.

"To this day, I am appalled we still haven't received any formal notification of its closure," added Mr Sparrow.

A spokesperson for NELFT said the closure was decided following a review of the service users needs.

"The trust is committed to providing the best possible care for service users, which is why this review has taken place. 

"With their physical health care needs becoming more prominent it is important that the appropriate level of care is provided.  The existing mental healthcare team is not best placed to provide these physical health needs.

"We are working closely with service users and families to identify suitable alternative provision that will meet residents’ physical and mental health needs and also enable them to maintain their longstanding friendship groups."

Mr Duncan-Smith has raised the issue with the chief executive of the trust.

He said: "I was very concerned to learn of the closure of Hawkwell Court and I have written to John Brouder at North East London NHS Foundation Trust to ask for some assurances about its future.

"I am particularly concerned that there appears to have been a lack of consultation with service users and carers about these proposals."

The trust has declined to give a date for the closure.