Concerns raised about the working conditions of a Basingstoke care home have been strongly refuted by its director.

A worried relative has contacted the Gazette to report a suspected "outbreak" of the disease at Oak Lodge, a privately-run nursing home set in remote grounds in Oakley.

The individual claimed there is a working culture where staff feel they "can't say no" as they are from different ethnic backgrounds and often feel isolated as they live on-site.

The relative claimed staff are currently dealing with an outbreak at the nursing home, where is costs £1,525 per week to live.

The director of Forest Care, who runs Oak Lodge, refused to give the number of current suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases.

He rejected claims of challenging working conditions and said staff were given appropriate personal protective equipment and had "success thus far" in keeping everyone safe.

The Gazette asked:

  • How many suspected coronavirus cases were at Oak Lodge
  • How many carers are self-isolating or off sick
  • Were any carers currently living at the home
  • What personal protection equipment (PPE) was provided

Mr Vickery said he couldn’t give out personal information but said: “All necessary and optional PPE is provided and is being warn as it has been throughout. And all government/ Public Health England guidance has been followed and maintained throughout.

“We have not had any issue with the supply of PPE and have sufficient stock for another two months before we would need to order any more.

“I can also tell you that we have at no point had any issue with staffing. We have, in common with most, had periods of absence where staff have had to self-isolate in line with Government guidance, but the home has remained fully staffed throughout.

“Oak Lodge is fortunate in that we have separate on-site staff accommodation and there are four staff who reside there permanently. We also have other facilities on site that we have offered to staff on a temporary basis so they do not have to keep coming and going. That is part of a range of precautions we have offered staff which includes things like them being able to order a weekly shop through the home’s suppliers rather than having to go out themselves.”

Mr Vickery said: “There is nothing to hide, there is no wider issue and there is nothing wrong at Oak Lodge. I am just not prepared to facilitate a negative headline when there isn’t one.”

More than 8,300 people died with Covid-19 in care homes in England between April 10 and May 8, according to the the Care Quality Commission, including 1,503 which occurred in the week up to May 8.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock rejected accusations that the Government had “let down” the care sector as “unfair”.

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