Melton Court care home residents face pre-Christmas move

Elderly residents at a South Yorkshire care home face having to find different accommodation by Christmas after it emerged the home's owner is in prison.

The Care Quality Commission said it had no choice but to order the closure of Melton Court in Maltby after learning owner Ishtiaq Zahir is in jail.

He is serving a sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.

Maureen Wallace, whose 94 year-old-mother lives at the home, said: "She'll die if she has to go from here."

Mrs Wallace said her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, is one of the 21 residents at the 24-bed home and "she loves it".

Relatives have been told the home could close in 10 days.

Mary Gill, whose 89-year-old mother is also a Melton Court resident, said: "Why should all these elderly people be punished?"

'Unlawfully operating'

Debbie Westhead, from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the body responsible for checking standards in care homes, said she recognised the "disruption and anxiety" the closure decision would cause.

She said the commission would work with Rotherham Council to find "suitable alternative accommodation" but she added that the home was "unlawfully operating" at present.

Ms Westhead said the commission would be flexible over the date the home would be closed.

Sam Newton, of Rotherham Council, described the closure as a "traumatic event".

She said: "We need to make sure everybody is moved safely and their interests are put first."

Zahir was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm in 2010.

The CQC said it learned Zahir was in prison in August 2012 and notified him by letter on 19 September that it was cancelling the registration of the home.

As of 23 November, Melton Court has therefore been operating without CQC registration, the commission said.

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