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Proposals to consult on future of older people's accommodation

Published: 16 January 2020

Proposals to consult on the closure of seven homes for older people which need significant improvement due to the deteriorating state of the buildings and the need as a priority to ensure the safety of residents are to be discussed.

Members of our Cabinet will also be asked to agree to seek people’s views on plans to refurbish 3 other homes when they meet on Thursday 23 January 2020.

The proposals have been drawn up following an independent survey of our older care homes and subsequent analysis which found defects in 10 homes, highlighting the need for extensive work to bring them up to modern care standards.

The report to be discussed says there is a pressing need to address significant refurbishment issues, including rewiring all the homes as a priority to ensure the ongoing safety of residents.

Councillors will hear that even if repairs were carried out, some of the homes are no longer fit for the purpose of providing high-quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs.

Our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Commissioning Strategy 2019 to 2035, which was approved in May 2019, projects there will be less need for residential care in the long term. There will be more emphasis on working with partners and developers to create community-based services, care-ready housing, extra care or provide extra support to help older people remain independent at home for longer.

Taking this into account and considering the significant cost and extent of work required to bring the buildings up to standard, we're planning to consult on the possible closure of:

• Ladycross House, Travers Road, Sandiacre
• Beechcroft, Nursery Avenue, West Hallam
• East Clune, West Street, Clowne (including East Clune Day Centre)
• Holmlea, Waverley Street, Tibshelf
• The Spinney, Landsdowne Road, Woodlands, Brimington
• Goyt Valley House, Jubilee Street, New Mills
• Gernon Manor, Dagnell Gardens, Bakewell

Members of our Cabinet will be asked to approve to consult on the refurbishment of:

• Briar Close House, Briar Close, Borrowash
• Rowthorne, Rowthorne Avenue, Swanwick
• New Bassett House, Park Avenue, Shirebrook

Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Health Helen Jones said:

“I understand that this will be an anxious time for everyone who may be affected but we have a duty to provide older people with the care and support they need in surroundings fit for the 21st century to help them lead dignified, fulfilled lives.

“We have many older buildings which no longer enable us to do this as they need extensive refurbishment in the near future, costing in excess of £34m to bring them up to modern care standards.

“Even if repairs were carried out many of these buildings are no longer fit for purpose and do not have the room for essential equipment and residents have to share toilets rather than having their own en-suite.

“It means the council has to consider whether significant expenditure on these homes when there is a diminishing strategic need for them in the future would be a good use of public money.”

If the consultation is agreed, Derbyshire residents would have 12 weeks to give their views.

The report to be discussed states that due to the extent of works and likely disruption, residents in homes earmarked for refurbishment would be supported by us to move into alternative accommodation if they wished.

Helen Jones added:

“I’d like to reassure residents, their families and carers that once we became aware of the extent of the work needed in these homes, we carried out immediate work to upgrade fire alarms, replace fire doors and increase staffing at night to ensure everyone’s safety while we considered our future strategy.

“The council will do everything it can to support everyone affected at this difficult time and reassure them that their care will not be compromised in any way.

“If Cabinet agrees to consult on these proposals I’d like to reassure people that no decisions will be taken until we have heard everyone’s views and taken these into account.”

Cabinet will also be asked to approve funding to support the development of Derbyshire’s care market as part of its Older People’s Housing Accommodation and Support Strategy. This will ensure local people have a choice in how and where they live.

With a total of 23 homes, we are one of the largest providers of residential care in the country.

Other councils either no longer provide residential care or have decided to focus on providing targeted provision to meet local need. In other areas, the emphasis has been on working with the private provider market to develop and provide services.

Find more information on our future strategy for care homes.