Concerns raised over imminent closure of another St Basil’s aged care home in NSW

·

The recent announcement by the Board of St Basil’s NSW/ACT Aged Care to close their aged care facility at Kensington, previously operated by Castellorizian Aged Care, has caused considerable consternation within the local Greek Australian community, following the permanent closure in September 2022 of St Basil’s Annandale.

St. Basil’s NSW & ACT is an organisation created by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (GOAA) which provides quality care for ageing Australians. Archbishop Makarios of Australia is President of a Board of Directors which includes prominent Greek Australians such as James Jordan (who serves as Chairman), Greg Gav and Theo Penklis.

The property at 252 Johnston Street in Annandale was eventually sold for $18 million and is now being redeveloped for affordable housing in Sydney’s Inner West.

st-basils-annandale
St Basil’s Annandale sold for $18 million.

At the time, the Board claimed that St Basil’s Annandale was surplus to its operating requirements and had to be sold. According to a media release, the proceeds from the sale would be used to provide its residents and clients with an enhanced experience through the restoration of its facilities, as well as to support the expansion of services that enable St Basil’s to reach more ageing Australians in need.

Many of the residents from Annadale were transferred to St Basil’s Kensington. 

For the residents and many of their friends and family, it came as a shock that on 17 January 2024 St Basil’s NSW/ACT announced it had made the “difficult decision” to close its aged care home in Kensington. 

Mr Jordan said, “The decision follows significant consideration by the Board of Directors and the Executive team. Our aim, vision and mission are to always provide the best possible care for our residents in a safe and quality living environment. Whilst the clinical care of residents has been maintained, the physical environment has been challenging and the building is now outdated. Despite our efforts to renovate, it no longer meets the more complex clinical needs of residents who require care.”

The Board’s Chairman added that reviews conducted by the Aged Care Regulatory Body and St Basil’s own Quality Team identified certain “environmental compliance gaps” which were not conducive to the complex care needs of residents in the long term.   

St Basils’ Aged Care management advised that it would be working closely with each resident and their families to relocate to another home of their choice.

The decision to close St Basil’s Kensington so soon after the sale of the Annandale property has left some observers perplexed.

The Greek Herald has reviewed a number of governance documents and correspondence issued by St Basil’s in recent years, as well as annual and regulatory reports.

When St Basil’s acquired the Kensington property in late 2019 and took over the management of the former Castellorizian Nursing Home, the transition was described in the 2019–20 annual report for St. Basil’s NSW/ACT as follows:

“We facilitated lots of consultations with families and customers there to make sure they felt supported as St. Basil’s took the reins, and understood who we are, our mission and values. Understanding what we were going to change for them to make things better and what was going to stay the same.”

St Basil’s made laudable changes at the Kensington facility, where around 75% of the residents were from a Greek background and described as being very family oriented.  Changes included repainting and installation of new furniture, introduction of a proper maintenance office and customer service officers and a shift to a centralised clinical database system. They also rolled out the St Basil’s “Live Well” model of care.

In April 2021, St Basil’s published its Strategic Plan 2021-2026 under the heading “Stronger Than Ever.” The Strategic Plan painted an optimistic and rosy future for the aged care provider, boasting that the company will achieve sustainable growth by building on its core services and offering new services to the St Basil’s family through their life’s journey.

st basils strategic plan kensington
St Basil’s NSW/ACT has released its Strategic Plan 2021-2026.

After the Kensington facility’s closure was announced, friends and relatives of residents have expressed concerns regarding the option to relocate to the St. Basil’s facility in Lakemba. The concern stems from the considerable distance between the existing eastern suburbs location and Lakemba, posing challenges for many relatives and friends who wish to visit their loved ones. However, it’s worth noting that some residents have been successfully relocated and are grateful for the assistance St. Basil’s has offered them during this transition period.

Others are questioning the motives of St Basils’ and the GOAA, particularly as in its 2021 publication it was very positive about moving forward and about the legacy which it was trying to establish for the homes.

There have since been discussions that the Kensington property will be utilised as a training facility for St Basil’s staff or an education facility for the Archdiocese’s Theological College however, this is not yet confirmed.

On a number of occasions Archbishop Makarios has emphasised St Basil the Great’s important theological and social works and his philanthropy towards church and its people with the establishment of the group of holy institutions named “Vasileiada,” for the care of the poor, the sick and the elderly.

Both the Archbishop and the St Basil’s Board have acknowledged they are stewards of the Church and the St Basil’s name and have the responsibility to strive for excellence being compliant and viable into the future.

At the time of publication, The Greek Herald approached the chairman of the board, James Jordan, and Archbishop Makarios for comment.

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Christopher Michalakas among South Australia’s top law graduates

With three major law schools and over 4200 legal practitioners currently practising, South Australia boasts a strong fraternity of lawyers.

The dangers for the Hellenism of diaspora

The Hellenism of diaspora is faced with certain social and historical dangers, situations and realities which cause serious problems.

From ‘greeklish’ to ‘engreek’: The new social media slang

The (new) social media slang is a polyphonic, symbolic language, a cryptic way of communication, which is difficult to decode.

Greek winners at Olive Japan commit to quality and the planet

At the 13th edition of the Olive Japan International Olive Oil Competition, Greek olive oils took home 7 Gold awards and 17 Silvers.

Lipsi labelled Greece’s secret island gem of 2024

Le Figaro has spotlighted Lipsi, the main island in a chain of around 30 isles, in its 2024 list of Greece’s “secret” islands.

You May Also Like

Greece has no rights on Hagia Sophia, says Turkish Foreign Minister

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, has declared that Greece has no right to protect Hagia Sophia as it is "on Turkish territory."

The Apollo restaurant in Potts Point fined for COVID breach

The Apollo restaurant has been fined over a new coronavirus breach three months after being at the centre of a big COVID-19 cluster.

Greek health officials issue precautionary guidelines for spreading virus

Greek health officials said this week that the risk of a new SARS-like virus entering Greece is limited but went ahead and issued safety precautions.