Care home ‘could be shut for years’ after legionnaires scare

A care home shut after a legionnaires’ disease scare could remain closed for “years”, a council meeting has heard.

Dugald Millar, assistant director of partnerships and commissioning for community services at Hounslow Council, said he could not give councillors a full update on Feltham Dene residential home because of potential “legal disputes”.

But Councillor John Todd said it was “outrageous” that Mr Millar’s report was “totally devoid of facts and evidence” over what caused the bacteria to spread.

Thirty-three elderly residents were evicted from the Shaw Healthcare home, in Spring Road, Feltham, on October 8, last year.

One was admitted to hospital with an “unrelated medical condition”, Mr Millar said.

He added: “So far we have not had any significantly negative feedback in terms of how well they have responded to the transfers.”

Mr Millar said legionella samples collected by council engineers did not match up with figures given by Shaw Healthcare.

He said the healthcare provider had told the authority it was carrying out proper checks, but added: “I am limited to what I can say in a public forum, we may end up in some legal disputes with people.

“We had a concern and we wanted to check how adequate their checks have been, further checks have been done and we may end up having further discussions with them on that basis.”

Some of Feltham Dene’s residents have since been staying in other Shaw Healthcare homes, including Kent Lodge in Ealing.

Councillor Pamela Fisher, lead member for adult social services and health at Hounslow Council, told the meeting on Monday, she has insisted on regular legionella checks since 2006, when Eldridge House care home, in Hounslow Road, Feltham, was forced to shut because of the bacteria.

But Feltham Dene failed to provide the council with two readings in August and September last year, leading to the authority stepping in on October 8.

She said: “These are very old buildings, they have been very badly maintained over many years and we knew there was always going to be a risk.”

Councillor Barbara Harris, chairman of the adults, health and social care scrutiny panel, asked Mr Millar to send members a full update in a confidential “red letter”.

Mr Millar said the council was continuing to disinfect the home, and the latest test results were due on January 20.

A spokesman for Shaw Healthcare said it was still discussing the future of Feltham Dene with the authority.