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Cabinet to decide on future of care facilities in the county

Published
14.06.2022

Recommendations to develop new care facilities in the county are set to be agreed next week at a meeting of the county council’s cabinet.

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The Cabinet is also being asked to approve the close of its existing, older care homes:

  • Orchard House, Bishops Cleeve, Tewkesbury
  • Westbury Court, Westbury, Forest of Dean
  • Bohanam House, Gloucester
  • The Elms, Stonehouse, Stroud

These proposals also have the backing of local NHS leaders who have an equally strong desire to support people to remain well and independent in their home for as long as possible.

Plans to invest in new facilities, if agreed, would see a new or redeveloped facility on The Elms site in Stonehouse to provide support to the needs of Stroud residents in the longer term. It is likely that a residential and nursing facility would be provided that could respond and be flexible to the care needs of the local district from 2025 onwards.

Other sites across the county, where there aren’t currently adequate services to meet current and future needs and demand, will also be identified in order to provide services for people in their local area.

The recommendation to close the four homes follows six-weeks consultation with residents, the relatives and staff in the homes and were first proposed to Cabinet following a review of care services in the county and feedback from the local care market.

Findings of both the engagement with the care market and the views given by residents, relatives and staff will be carefully considered by Cabinet before it takes a final decision.

The wider research carried out by Gloucestershire County Council at the end of 2021  found:

  • The county has an oversupply of care beds in some parts and in others there is a lack of affordable provision
  • Demand for standard residential care home places has been falling consistently for the past five years. At the same time, more people are wanting to be cared for at home

The consultation involved a series of meetings in each of the four homes where residents, their families and staff were invited to have their say. In addition to those meetings and an online survey, an independent company – Evolving Communities – also hosted consultation events and provided a separate feedback report which will be presented to Cabinet.

Key issues raised by residents, their families and staff at the homes focussed around the impact on health and wellbeing of the residents if they had to move to another home. Others raised concerns around distance to the home for visitors without access to transport.

Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “I would like to thank all those who have taken the time to engage in the consultation relating to the four homes. I understand these proposals are likely to cause those directly affected to be anxious. Should the recommendations be agreed, we will do all we can to minimise any disruption for all concerned.

“We want to make sure we help people remain independent for as long as possible and if they need care, to be able to receive it in ways that works for them. When Cabinet meets, it will have to weigh up the understandable and valid concerns raised by those in the four homes with the wider trends and issues impacting on the local care market. We cannot afford to do nothing – we have a duty under the care act to support and develop a strong and effective local care market. The risk of doing nothing is further instability, leading to failure of providers, services and facilities that are already in much demand, for example nursing care.

“Cabinet will consider the closure of the homes alongside future plans to invest in new, purpose-built facilities in the areas of the county that need increased care provision.”

If closure of the four care homes is agreed, residents will be individually assessed and supported by social care staff to help them move safely to suitable alternative accommodation that can meet their needs.

You can view the cabinet paper here.

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