Manager baffled over Stone dementia care home rejections despite £200k investment

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Previously the would-be manager had successfully overseen operations at care homes in Nottinghamshire

A man who wanted to reopen a care home site in Stone remains baffled as to why his application has been consistently rejected.

Anwar Rashid bought the lease on the Chiltern View care home site in Stone which has been empty for two years.

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He planned to open the facility as a residential facility for retired and elderly patients.

The closed Chiltern View care home in StoneThe closed Chiltern View care home in Stone
The closed Chiltern View care home in Stone

Anwar invested £200,000 in regenerating the 32-room site. Previously the vice-chairman of Mursley Parish Council had overseen operations at six Park View care facilities in Nottinghamshire, which were staffed by over 400 people.

When his son became severely disabled and required significant day-to-day attention, he stepped back from the business.

Some Aylesbury officials have keenly followed Anwar’s attempts to re-register the site. Roger Jefcoate, who is a patron for the national disability charity based in Stoke Mandeville, Wheel Power, states that 32 hospital patients have been homed in his Olympic Lodge Hotel to ease pressures on Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

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This is a temporary fix, and an additional care facility could help support some of these patients who are no longer able to live independently.

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Each registration application made by Anwar over a 14-month period was rejected by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC is unable to share the specific findings from individual registration results due to data protection law.

After investing six figures into the project and dedicating two years of his life to getting the site open again, he has decided to give up.

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Roger said: “The Care Quality Commission has made visit after visit and each time they’re critical of some small thing.

"They noticed and photographed the lack of a gully cover for external gutter downpipes. It cost him all of 70p from Wickes to replace that. This is nitpicking par excellence.”

Other reasons the care home was rejected according to Anwar, relate to dirt being found behind radiators, and the CQC wanting him to expand on a particular answer while being interviewed during one registration attempt.

As well as re-launching the care home, Anwar planned to launch a dementia cafe open seven days a week, which the public would have been free to attend.

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He also claims the care home would have generated approximately 30 new jobs for the Aylesbury area.

Upon hearing of the difficulties Anwar was facing opening the site, Buckingham MP Greg Smith said he would make enquires and contact the CQC. He said: “I share the frustration of the owners of the care home that they are not being permitted to open and have made representations to the Care Quality Commission on their behalf."

Applications made to Bucks Council to open a dementia day care centre were also declined, despite backing from three prominent charities that support the elderly. Bucks Council would only agree the project if clients paid for the service using direct payments, something Anwar felt was unrealistic. So the project was abandoned.

Initially Anwar was keen to prevent the site from closing in 2021 and, given his background, felt comfortable taking over the home.

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When it closed 29 residents had to be rehomed and 20 jobs were lost.

In 2022, Anwar submitted a complaint to the CQC alleging that one of the inspectors had acted in a racist manner.

He felt he had been racially profiled during an inspection when the former care manager claims a member of the CQC ‘assumed he was a Muslim’. This upset Anwar as he felt that the inspector had presumed which religion he follows solely on the basis of his skin colour.

"I thought, ‘hang on,’ I haven’t told these people I am a Muslim, I could be anybody. ‘Why do they think I’m a Muslim?’ And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, how do I respond to that?’

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"So I responded by saying, ‘look, if I get a Muslim client I’ll serve them Halal meat, if I get a Jewish client I’ll serve them Kosher meat,” Anwar said.

"That really got me, I thought to myself I’m 46 years old, I’ve probably had one incident in my life."

That was investigated by the CQC who fed back the results of the investigation to Anwar a few months later.

The findings were not passed on to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman for further scrutiny.

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The commission categorically denies that it is in any way a racist organisation. On the organisation's website it states: “We stand against all forms of racism and are committed to equality of access, experiences and outcomes for people accessing health and social care services and for our staff.

“We set high standards on equality, diversity and inclusion for both the services we regulate and for ourselves as an organisation. As part of our Well Led assessments we look at how organisations are performing on race equality across their workforce and if we find poor practice, it impacts on the rating we give.

"Where it is within our legal remit, we also take enforcement action to make sure providers of health and care services take action to improve.”

Before the first inspection in March 2021, Anwar was fairly confident the home would be approved for registration. Previous conversations with the CQC assured him that a lack of en-suite facilities would not affect the inspection.

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He said: “We were literally ready to go. We had all the certificates for safety, and we had a great team on board.

"Normally the interview process takes two-to-three hours, with a further hour-and-a-half where they tell you if they are going to give you the results.

"This interview took five hours and 20 minutes with no breaks at all.”

The CQC has been approached for comment by The Bucks Herald on multiple occasions.

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