Since early December 2016 rumours have been circulating regarding the future of full time care staff at a number of the boroughs sheltered accommodations. On Friday 13th January Jon Cruddas MP visited Ted Hennem house in Dagenham's Heath Ward to find out more. The issue was brought to the MPs attention by the GMB Union who represent many of the staff. Ted Hennem House alongside two other local sheltered accommodations are currently home to 42 of the boroughs elderly residents, which are looked after by a number of full time care assistants.
Care staff have allegedly been told that a consultation about the future of care in the borough is imminent, which could result in mass redundancy across the three sites. Rumours suggest that staff have until the end of March.
It has come to light that proposals may include residents being provided with a personal budget by the council, in order for them to organise their own care.
On Friday Jon spoke with elderly residents at Ted Hennem House who raised fears about having to organise their own personal care assistants; explaining that the current full time staff put a lot of extra work in to ensure that the residents feel a sense of community within the buildings. Staff currently organise quizzes on a Monday, bingo afternoons on a Friday, and film afternoons sporadically during the week – events like this bring the residents together and provide them with much needed social engagement. The worry is that these interactions would stop should the current care staff go, leaving many of the boroughs most vulnerable isolated.
During Jon's visit residents and staff presented the local MP with a petition to launch a campaign in the event that these proposals are confirmed.
Jon Cruddas MP said: "After visiting Ted Hennem House I have seen first-hand the level of commitment that the staff there have to providing residents with engaging care. At the moment nothing is set in stone and these proposals are just rumours. In the coming weeks I will be taking the staff and resident petitions to the Leader of the Council for discussion.
"It is important that whatever the outcome, we do all we can to ensure that our elderly residents get the best possible care."
Jon Cruddas has contacted the council for clarification on the issues raised, and following this will be liaising with the staff and residents at Ted Hennem House.