FOUR elderly care homes in Coventry are set to close under a £1million council cuts plan.
The ‘housing with care’ schemes are the latest to face the axe, as the council grabbles with unprecedented government funding cuts and a growing elderly population.
It means scores of elderly and frail people and their relatives now face uncertainty at Christmas – and the upset of losing their homes to be rehoused at other accommodation, which the council insists will be more suitable.
Recent years has seen a shift away from traditional care home settings to more independent living, including at home and in ‘housing with care’.
The four schemes earmarked for closure are:
• Frank Walsh House, Hillfields – now due to close by September 2016
• Skipton Lodge, Upper Stoke – by September 2016
• Halford Lodge, Keresley – by March 2017
• Farmcote Lodge, Aldermans Green – by March 2017.
The council’s ruling Labour cabinet of councillors will take a decision on the proposals to remove care and support at these centres at a public meeting on January 5 – at the Council House in Earl Street, city centre.
A Coventry City Council statement today said it was part of a wider citywide plan to improve elderly care while making savings.
It includes a £3million investment by Whitefriars Housing to refurbish older people’s accommodation at Skipton Lodge and Halford Lodge, to include new bathrooms, kitchens and improved communal areas.
It is in addition to a current £4.9m redevelopment at Jack Ball House and George Rowley House, which the council says will see both sites “brought back into use as modern older people’s accommodation”.
Councillor Kamran Caan, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for health and adult services, said: “Although we understand that moving home can be unsettling for many people, we will work closely with all of the tenants in the schemes and their families and carers to ensure that we manage the changes and support people into accommodation that is suitable for their needs and fit for purpose.
“We are supporting the move to an improved accommodation offer which promotes independence as far as possible for people that require social care in Coventry.”
Carmel McCarthy, Whitefriars director of housing, said: “Whitefriars is committed to upgrading our homes for older people to meet the changing needs of Coventry’s ageing population.
“We will continue to work closely with Coventry Council to ensure their decommissioning programme goes as smoothly as possible. The welfare of our customers will always be paramount.”
The council says a 12-week consultation took place with 287 people, including affected service users, family carers, external partner groups and voluntary sector organisations.
The two Learning Disability Day Centres based on the site of Frank Walsh House, Jenner8 and The Community Zone, will remain unchanged until at least March 2017.
The council statement said: “This ensures that the buildings can continue to be used to support people with a learning disability. This allows for time to develop alternative models of care with family carers, service users and third sector agencies.”
The council had already committed to purchasing care and support at 52 tenancies at the new, purpose-built Earlsdon Retirement Village.
With the cost of this re-provision included, the council estimates it will save approximately £1m if the proposals are approved in January.
More details can be seen on the council’s website from tomorrow (Thursday, Decmber 17) at http://democraticservices.coventry.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=124&MId=10765 from 17 December.