I WOULD like to take issue with Jessica Wells’ front page article in the Gazette & Herald, August 31. I take exception to the way you used the matter raised by Elizabeth Sykes regarding a past issue with the care provided by Seymour House to “pour oil on the fire” on the back of the previous week’s story regarding the Care Quality Commission report on Athelstan House in Malmesbury.
I am a retired residential social care worker with many years’ experience of working in and managing several residential homes and a day care centre for elderly people in the Berkshire area. My husband also worked as a residential care home manager, hospital social worker and community social worker at senior level. Our daughter is a trained nurse and has also worked in residential care.
We can justifiably claim to know exactly what is expected of staff in residential units: long hours, poor pay and little or no gratitude for “going the extra mile” to ensure that residents are well cared for. Managers juggle tight budgets to employ, train and retain staff as well as maintaining the fabric of the building.
To give some balance to the headlines, I need to tell you that my mother attended day care at another Order of St John establishment (Hungerford House, Corsham) and stayed at Athelstan House several times to give us a break from caring for her. She eventually went to live at Seymour House in April 2016.
We have experienced nothing but the highest level of commitment and professionalism from the staff of all of these establishments and we would have no hesitation in recommending them to others. 
We visit frequently and join in the life of the home as volunteers, so we have the opportunity to observe and have first-hand experience of the care provided. 
When we have had questions or concerns, the managers and staff have always been ready to listen and to take prompt action if required.
As ever, we see the media willing to leap on unsubstantiated hearsay like this to bring a negative slant on the care sector, with little or no regard for the feelings of the residents and their loved ones, or indeed the morale of those who work in residential care homes. The front-page headline “Second Care Home is in firing line” is pure sensationalism and exaggeration – one person has given you a story, which you have taken at face value and blown out of proportion, to create an attention-grabbing headline. Seymour House has not been criticised by Care Quality Commission (CQC) – in fact they were judged as ‘overall good’ in their recent report – take a look at it here: http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-122152445.
Although I am not in a position to comment on Ms Sykes’ issue, there is always another side to every story, in this case how the staff of Seymour House and other such establishments are dedicated to the care of very frail and vulnerable people. They are, however, only human - and will never be able to please all of the people all of the time, despite their best efforts. 
Maybe you could find some column-space to praise these hard-working and dedicated carers who look after those who are no longer able to care for themselves?