Beleaguered Wigan care home gets backing

The Acorns care home
The Acorns care home
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A carer has mounted a rigorous defence of a Wigan old people’s home which was heavily fined after mice droppings were found in the kitchen and dining room.

David Culshaw has spoken out in support of the Acorns Care Centre, in Hindley, where one of his relatives lived for three years.

His intervention came as the £104,000 fine, imposed by Wigan magistrates on Acorns earlier this year, was reduced to £50,000 by a Bolton judge.

Mr Culshaw insists he saw no evidence of any malpractice as he visited the premises on a daily basis

He said: “I found much evidence of a type of care well and above the call of duty, and wholesome meals carefully prepared and served.”

The carer, of Whiteside Avenue, Hindley, sent in a strongly-worded letter, backing the home, for the judge and magistrates determining the appeal to read.

He believe a number of factors, ranging from reduced bin collections to an abundance of abandoned cars, dumped close to the home’s entrance, for triggering the outbreak of rodents.

Mr Culshaw also questioned whether the building’s proximity to nearby Rayner Park - “an area abundant in wildlife” - may have had a bearing on Acorns’ troubles.

In a report published last January, the establishment was rated as ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission.

A whistleblower had also alerted Wigan Council to a mice infestation at the premises in Parkside.

Environmental health officers found evidence of mice droppings in the kitchen, dining room and even residents’ room, with food storage containers, preparation areas and equipment drawers all affected.

Mice were also found to have gnawed skirting boards and droppings were also discovered behind fridges and freezers. The home’s refuse arrangements were also criticised by officials.

Guilty pleas were entered to five contraventions of food safety and hygiene regulations, at the original magistrates court hearing, and the firm was ordered to pay £1,900 in legal costs, which still stands.

Before the fine was reduced, Mr Culshaw added: “It is difficult for a layman like myself, who is most grateful for the home’s sterling service, to understand how any draconian fine will improve the lot of residents.”