THREE patients with dementia died after being moved from a nursing home – and more could lose their lives, according to the chief executive of a health group.

Cathy Turland, who works for Healthwatch Redbridge, voiced concern about the condition of transferred patients from Meadow Court in Ilford since its closure last year during a meeting on Wednesday, January 31.

Three of the 23 patients at the court died shortly after being moved from the now closed nursing home.

Ms Turland, who spoke at a Redbridge Health Scrutiny Committee meeting, said: “We continue to have concerns about the quality of impact assessments that were done. They stated there was very low risk for patients who were moved. Twenty-three patients have gone from the home.

“These are frail, elderly patients with dementia. We know that two that died in September who moved very quickly from the home and we are talking to relatives of a patient that since their move just before Christmas, was not eating properly for three weeks, had dramatic weight loss and was taken to hospital and has just died.

“We are respecting the relative’s anonymity but they are very, very angry. This was their greatest fear and it’s come true.

“Whether this patient has died from an underlying illness I can’t say, I’m not medically trained, but we do feel that it warrants further investigation. 

“We do feel that there was a commitment from the CCG to mitigate the effects of the move for these patients and families.

"They committed to four mitigating factors including an ongoing engagement with carers and families before, during and after the transfer.

“I wanted to bring it to your attention to have more information on all the patients. We are very concerned that this could happen again.”

Andy Walker, a long-time health activist, was also at the meeting. He tweeted: “Cathy Turland claims three deaths could be consequence of Meadow Court closing. Wants an investigation.”

The CCG withdrew funding last November on the grounds of a lack of value of money due to the amount of empty beds.

Redbridge CCG had a contract with Care UK to pay for 48 beds, 14 of which were used by patients. Nine patients occupied other beds paid for by other NHS groups and local authorities. The home had a total of 70 beds. 

The cost to the NHS of empty beds is £2.44 million pounds a year.
Health bosses also defended the closure on the grounds that there are 17 nursing homes within four miles of Meadow Court providing the same care with available beds.

A CCG spokeswoman said it would meet with Healthwatch to discuss the concerns. 

She added: “The CCG follows best practice approaches to support residents to move to new care homes.

"We have a dedicated continuing healthcare nurse who is overseeing all moves from Meadow Court. Prior to their move each resident receives a new risk assessment to ensure that their new care home can meet their needs and all necessary actions take place for the move. The nurse will also visit them after at their new home.”

“We take patient safety very seriously and review any such cases. We will also be meeting with Healthwatch to discuss their concerns.”