Coronavirus vaccine fury as care home boss admits giving jab to family friends

The Gables care home in Sutton Coldfield (Image: Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

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A care home owner has come under fire for giving coronavirus vaccines to his friends.

Sarjit Bisla, owner of The Gables care home in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, denied any impropriety during the vaccination rollout visit by a GP on Saturday.

He admitted that two family friends were given doses, but added they had been volunteering at another home he runs during the pandemic and were entitled to the vaccine, Birmingham Live reports.

"The reality was we had a very small window to take an opportunity," he claimed.

He confirmed the recipients were not employees but had been helping his organisation, unpaid, and so were called to take up doses after attempts to contact off-duty staff living nearby failed.

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The owner denies any wrongdoing
(Image: Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

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The incident, though only involving a very small number of vaccine doses, provoked fury among frontline staff who care for the home's older residents, many with dementia.

One claimed they were not told vaccinators would be at the home on Saturday for the pre-arranged visit, and were 'disgusted' to learn the owner invited people who did not officially work for the organisation to take up doses.

The carer, who would not be named, said: "We are massively upset. I have been here and through all this hell for a year now and it looks like they chose their own friends above us, the staff who work here.

"It is very very demoralising. I am worried about my position at work if I speak up but this needs to get out, it is just not right at all."

The matter was referred to the CQC
(Image: Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

Mr Bisla denied the claims and confirmed a complaint had been made by a whistleblower to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) linked to the incident.

The whistleblower claimed the visitors to the home did not follow care home protocols and entered without first undergoing a rapid test as part of lockdown measures.

Mr Bisla confirmed they did not take a rapid test before entering 'because of the time urgency involved in getting the vaccines done' but said their temperature was taken and health checks done.

He confirmed he had outlined what happened to a CQC inspector during a call this morning.

"We did call everybody at the home, all the members of staff, when we knew we had a few extra and that was the first port of call," he said.

"We then went down the list of who we know were employees and volunteers and I went down who was local and could come in and have a jab.

"I did not make the calls myself but that's what happened."

The vaccinations took place on Saturday
(Image: Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

He added: "We want to get everyone vaccinated this week, all the staff, but we are waiting for the full details from Public Health England on that."

Staff living nearby disputed they were contacted and claimed they had checked their phone records.

One said: "I would have been there like a shot."

Mr Bisla also confirmed just two of the staff on duty that day in the 24-bed home wanted the vaccine when offered.

Mr Bisla confirmed neither he nor his wife Gurinder, registered manager of the home, took up the offer themselves.

They did so to leave doses for others, he said.

The whistleblower added: "It was really demoralising, to hear both that a vaccine had been on offer and we were not called, and that people entered the home without taking a test who are not part of our regular testing regime.

"Our relatives cannot come in to visit and that is heartbreaking and devastating for them."

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Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, which is overseeing the vaccination programme locally, was asked about the case.

It said: "While it would not be appropriate for us to comment on individual cases, it is important to note that all care homes are notified and booked in advance by the GPs who are providing the vaccination service in their area, to ensure the necessary arrangements are made in advance and compliance to strict infection prevention measures.

"GPs will only vaccinate those people in the current priority groups, this includes care home staff.”

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