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Coronavirus Kent: Bosses at St John nursing home in Whitstable reverse decision to close home during outbreak

Bosses have reversed their decision to kick 13 elderly residents out of a nursing home during the coronavirus lockdown after a backlash from relatives.

The St John Home in Whitstable confirmed earlier this month that it is set to close on May 31, leaving 40 staff jobless.

St John Home in Whitstable. Picture: St John Ambulance
St John Home in Whitstable. Picture: St John Ambulance

This morning, KentOnline revealed bosses at St John Ambulance Service were insisting residents will still be evicted despite the government imposing restrictions to combat the pandemic.

But after a furious backlash, they have now reassured residents they will be allowed to stay at the home until the outbreak is over. They could not confirm when it will now close.

However, Liz Boys, whose mum 90-year-old Rene Tucker is a resident at the care home, says it is "too little, too late".

"It is almost irrelevant unless there are any relatives who haven’t yet found somewhere for residents to go," she said.

"I have a place for mum and I will carry on. There is no point in reversing my decision.

"You couldn’t possibly reverse it now - I was in my mum’s room yesterday clearing it out and it looks very bereft for the time being until she gets to the new home.

"It is nice they have seen common sense."

Resident Rene Tucker has been forced to find a new home. Picture: Liz Boys
Resident Rene Tucker has been forced to find a new home. Picture: Liz Boys

Her mum has lived at St John for 10 years and Mrs Boys started looking for a new home on March 7, a day after the closure was announced.

But because her mum has dementia, trying to tell her why she is losing her home proved to be "quite upsetting".

Chief operating officer at St John Ambulance Service Richard Lee said: “I understand the concerns raised and I give my personal assurance that our residents’ safety and wellbeing has always been and remains our absolute priority.

“St John, as a clinically led organisation, has been meticulously following the Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England advice (specific to nursing homes) to ensure we adhere to any guidance given and continue to provide high quality, safe care to all our residents.

“During this COVID-19 crisis we will respect the wishes of the residents and their families on where they feel the best place is for them to be until this crisis is over.”

But the charity could not confirm how many staff will still work there and whether workers will still face redundancies.

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