County Council seeks views on future of older people's accommodation (Deadline: 24th April)

Published on: Saturday, 8th February 2020

Erewash residents are being offered their chance to give their views on proposals to close two of the county council’s care homes – which need significant work including comprehensive re-wiring – and the refurbishment of another to ensure the safety of elderly residents.

Independent surveys were carried out on all of the council’s older care homes countywide which looked at the condition of the buildings – including the structure, roofing, wiring, fire safety measures, heating systems and kitchens.

The surveys found serious defects in 10 homes, highlighting the need for extensive work to bring them up to modern care and safety standards.

Once the council became aware of the extent of the repairs and safety precautions needed in these homes it carried out immediate work to upgrade fire alarms, replace fire doors, increase evacuation equipment and have extra carers on duty to act as fire wardens at night to ensure safety. However, the risks of any fire occurring cannot be totally eliminated without the wiring being replaced.  

But these are only temporary measures and a refurbishment of the ten homes would cost £34 million of council taxpayers’ money and not resolve the issue that they are no longer fit for purpose.

The independent reports which detail the full extent and nature of the work needed in the 10 homes have been made available for the public to view online as part of the consultation process,  along with the Cabinet report which sets out the reasons for the proposals in full

Executive Director for Adult Social Care and Health Helen Jones said: “It is regrettable that the council finds itself in this position but we have a duty to provide older people with the care and support they need in safe surroundings fit for the 21st century.

“It is clear from the condition reports that we have made available on our website that the work needed on these homes is significant and we must consider whether or not these buildings have reached the end of their useful lifespan.

“Even if the repairs were carried out we consider seven of these buildings are no longer fit for purpose and do not allow older people to live with dignity, with rooms that are too small for essential equipment and shared toilets.  We want to hear from those affected whether or not they agree with this.

“Our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Strategy also projects there will be less need for traditional residential care beds in the future.  This, and the extent and nature of the work needed, means the council has to consider whether significant expenditure on these buildings would be a good use of local taxpayers’ money.”

The proposals are to close Ladycross House, Travers Road, Sandiacre and Beechcroft, Nursery Avenue, West Hallam as well as five others in North Derbyshire, whilst Briar Close House, Briar Close in Borrowash is one of three sites which are planned to remain open and be refurbished.
 
The consultation will run until April 24 and an online questionnaire is available to fill in at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/care-home-review where people can also find more information about the proposals.  Printed copies of the questionnaire can be made available on request by phoning 01629 531307.

Meetings will be held in all 10 homes so that residents, their relatives, carers and staff who are directly affected can give their views.

A series of drop-in sessions have also been arranged for the public to give their views and these will be held at Sandiacre Library, Doncaster Avenue – 21 February 10am to 1pm, Ilkeston Library, Market Place – 13 March 10am to 1pm and Borrowash Library, Victoria Avenue – 27 March 10am to 1pm.

People can also write to the Stakeholder and Engagement Team, Adult Social Care, County Hall, Matlock, DE43AG or email telladultcare @ derbyshire.gov.uk to have their say.

Helen Jones added: “We understand this will be a worrying time for everyone affected but I’d like to reassure them that no decisions will be taken until we’ve heard everyone’s views and taken these into account.”

All comments must be received by 24 April 2020 when the consultation closes.

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