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Seven ‘ageing’ Derbyshire care homes face £30m repair bill

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Derbyshire County Council has agreed to launch a consultation after hearing major refurbishments are needed in seven ageing care homes.

The work needed includes replacing boilers, heating systems, refitting all kitchens and bathrooms, roofing works and installing sprinkler systems.

There is also a pressing need for an invasive rewire in each home to be carried out by September 2022.

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The extent of the work needed would mean significant disruption for residents who would have to move out for up to 40 weeks while staff would need to be redeployed.

There are currently 68 long-term residents in the seven homes supported by 240 staff.

Even if the repairs costing around £30m were carried out, the report said the homes are no longer fit for purpose and do not have the space to use essential equipment, for en-suite facilities or the capability to be adapted to provide high quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs.

The cabinet was also told that Covid-19 had accelerated a reduction in demand for care home places both locally and nationally with more people preferring to remain independent at home with council support.

Councillors voted in favour of asking people what they thought of options for the future of Ladycross House, Beechcroft, East Clune, Holmlea, The Spinney, Goyt Valley House and Gernon Manor.

Councillor Natalie Hoy, the cabinet member for adult care, said: “It is essential that we consult on these proposals to hear everyone’s views before a decision is made.

“The work needed to these homes is significant and couldn’t be carried out with people still living in them. All the residents would have to move out and we’d need to re-deploy staff for up to 40 weeks while works were undertaken.

“I understand this will be unsettling but I’d like to reassure people that no decisions would be made until we’d heard from everyone and taken their views in to account.

“We will be keeping an open mind and if any other options are put forward during the consultation, including viable alternatives to put modern facilities on these sites, we will of course consider these.”

The consultation is currently underway and will run for 12 weeks until 14 February 2022.

Direct consultation will take place with residents, relatives and staff who will be invited to virtual meetings where they can ask questions and give their views.

Figures released by Derbyshire County Council show that even before Covid-19, long-term admissions to residential care homes in Derbyshire dropped by a quarter and during the pandemic, this fell a further 20% in 2020/21.

Across Derbyshire almost 40% of care home providers are reporting occupancy rates below 80%.

In a recent survey of clients supported by its adult care service, almost 70% said they did not want to go into a care home but overwhelmingly wanted to stay in their own home for as long as possible with the right care and support in place.

Meanwhile demand for its home care services in 2020 rose by 12% with more than 5,200 people a month now receiving support to live at home, compared with 4,500 in 2018.

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Tags : Care HomesCouncilDerbyshireRefurbishments
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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