Residents of council-run care homes in County Durham were today reassured that their needs will be the main priority as changes to residential care take place.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet approved recommendations to close Cheveley House, in Belmont; Feryemount, in Ferryhill; Grampian House, in Peterlee; Mendip House, in Chester-le-Street; and Newtown House, in Stanhope; at a meeting in Crook this morning (16 April). Work has commenced as the council look to develop a robust and detailed plan for the relocation of residents, with their needs, comfort and safety at the heart of the process.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for safer and healthier communities, said:
"This was an extremely difficult decision for everyone and I would like to assure people that we have considered all of the feedback we received and all of the options available to us.
"There is no denying that people feel very strongly and we fully understand this. In coming to today's decision, we have had to consider a wide range of factors in addition to the responses to the consultation.
"This includes the desire for people to stay in their own homes for longer; a fall in demand for residential care places, particularly in regard to our own care homes; the need for significant investment in the five properties; and the availability of suitable, lower cost accommodation within the independent sector as well as significant financial pressure due to government funding cuts.
"We now need to begin the process of planning the closures in a carefully managed way that takes full account of residents’ needs."
A dedicated group of social workers and senior operational staff with extensive experience in supporting residential care moves will work with each resident and their family to draw up a detailed plan for their relocation. This will be based on an individual assessment of need involving the resident and their relatives.
I was disappointed the council decided to close Newtown House in Stanhope. Having travelled into Weardale on a number of occasions I am always very pleased to visit the area and love going to the Durham Dales Centre and meeting residents. I have visited Stanhope Parish Council in the past with Pat and noted the passion and pride of the councillors who represent their villages and areas vigorously. I believed their was a special case for Newtown House to remain open, however, the decision has been made and the council experts must ensure they listen to the fears of residents, ensuring they deliver a smooth transition to new accommodation.