Northamptonshire care home denies claims by union that staff were sacked for whistleblowing over alleged assault

Three workers at Lucas Court in Moulton have been fired. But union GMB says they were sacked on "trumped up charges" because it claims they reported care home bosses to the CQC over an alleged sexual assault incident.
Three workers at Lucas Court in Moulton have been fired. But union GMB says they were sacked on "trumped up charges" because it claims they reported care home bosses to the CQC over an alleged sexual assault incident.

A major union has demanded three people sacked from a Northamptonshire care home are reinstated after claiming they were given the boot for blowing the whistle about an alleged attack.

GMB, the union for care workers, has labelled the dismissal of three employees of Avery Homes’ Lucas Court, in Moulton, on June 16, as a “sham.” But Avery Homes vigorously denied the allegation and said: “We strongly refute that these disciplinary actions imposed are as a result of staff whistleblowing.” It also says there is “no strong evidence to suggest an assault took place”.

Bosses of the home say the three were fired for failing to follow company policy - but GMB’s regional officer Rachelle Wilkins claims they were sacked as a result of the part they played in reporting the home to the Care Quality Commision (CQC) for “failing to safeguard a resident” who had been the victim of an alleged assault.

She said: “GMB believes that the members have been dismissed because the home managers failed to safeguard the resident in their care and because they blew the whistle.

The GMB alleges one of the sacked staff members reported an incident of alleged assault to the CQC in early June. The report triggered a visit from CQC ‘safeguarding’ to the Avery Lucas Court home on Friday, June 26.

The GMB says that it was only after the CQC visited, that action was taken by the home.

Bosses of Lucas Court, which received a glowing Care Quality Commission report in 2014, strongly deny the claims the staff were sacked for “whistleblowing”.

Director of Avery Homes, Ian Matthews, said: “The managers of Lucas Court have had to make changes to improve the quality of the service.

“Some staff have not shared our quality vision or of the need to change the culture within the home. This has resulted in maliciousness which has sadly been supported by the GMB Union.

“It has been necessary to discipline members of staff who failed to follow regulatory and company policy and disciplinary sanctions have been imposed.”

Mr Matthews strongly refuted that these disciplinary actions imposed are as result of staff whistleblowing.

The GMB has lodged appeals against the dismissals of what it is dubbing the “Avery Three” and is seeking expert legal advice.

The union says it is also writing to the CQC to ask what action it is taking.