A YORK care home says a watchdog has praised it following an inspection, which was organised in the wake of complaints from a city MP and residents’ relatives.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said she had asked the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to inspect South Park in Acomb after receiving a series of complaints about ‘poor care’ during the coronavirus pandemic, and it was inspected last Friday.

“The inspection was carried out because a number of people (staff, relatives and myself) raised concern,” she said.

She claimed: “The system has lost sight of the person, and I will not give up calling for answers until everything is out in the open as to what happened in York’s care homes during the pandemic. We all need answers, not least the residents and their families.”

But a spokesperson for South Park said yesterday that the CQC’s initial inspection feedback had confirmed that infection control at South Park was well managed and that staff and residents felt supported and cared for. “It also showed that End of Life care was delivered well,” they added.

One of the relatives who complained to the MP was Carolyn Sharpe, who told The Press she had been ‘horrified’ by the standard of care given to her mother, retired teacher Pat Smith, before she died from cancer at South Park in April.

She also complained about the insensitivity of staff who rang her just after her mother died, including one who left a voicemail message on her phone, saying: “Hello this is the nurse from South Park. Just to let you know the body is being removed now to the funeral directors.” Carolyn said: “There was no ‘we’re sorry for your loss,’ just ‘the body is being removed’.”

The South Park spokesperson said: “We take these allegations very seriously and our thoughts are with Mrs Smith’s family and friends. At no point did South Park receive any complaints from Ms Sharpe and we are sorry to learn that she does not feel her mother was properly cared for at South Park.

“These are incredibly difficult times and our colleagues have done their utmost to ensure residents are comfortable at all times and receive the care they need.”

Carolyn also said her mother was suddenly transferred to South Park, without any choice, after having received ‘wonderful’ end of life cancer care at St Leonard’s Hospice in March, and claimed she was told this was because the hospice was to become a Covid-19 centre.

Hospice director of clinical services, Jenny Brandom, said it didn’t discuss individual patient’s details but was aware of Mrs Smith’s family and her discharge from the hospice.

“Patients at end-of-life are occasionally discharged, but this is always planned out by a multi-disciplinary care team at the hospice, and we work together with external care providers to ensure patient needs are met in the most appropriate care setting,” she said.

“Whilst Covid-19 has been an issue facing the hospice over the past few months, it wasn’t a deciding factor in this case. Patient care is our top priority, and ongoing review of policies and procedures is an everyday part of the professional care that we provide.

“As such, we are more than happy to continue an open dialogue with Mrs Smith’s family and our thoughts go out to them at this difficult time.”