Durham County Council's five remaining residential homes in Stanhope, Belmont, Ferryhill, Peterlee and Chester-le-Street recommended for closure

The Northern Echo: Cheveley House, Belmont Cheveley House, Belmont

A COUNCIL’S recommendation to close its last five residential care homes could cost lives, a councillor has claimed.

Durham County Council’s cabinet will meet next week to discuss the future of Newtown House, Stanhope; Cheveley House, Belmont; Feryemount, Ferryhill; Grampian House, Peterlee and Mendip House, Chester-le-Street.

All five homes, which currently house 40 elderly residents with 31 day users and 172 staff, are being recommended for closure by Rachael Shimmin, corporate director of children and adult services, in a bid to cut costs.

The council say in-house care costs £918 per week compared to £474 it would pay for residents to be looked after in a private home.

It also estimates it must spend almost £4.2m over the next ten years to bring the five homes up to an acceptable standard - although inspections by the Care Quality Commission in 2013 found they met the required level.

The council argued residency numbers at each home has dropped over the last few years and space is available in private facilities.

Ms Shimmin also said there had been no suitable business plans put forward to take over the care homes.

Almost 700 people responded to a public consultation on the proposals with around 80 per cent opposed to closure.

Concerns were raised over the trauma of making the elderly residents move, the extra distances families would have to travel to visit their loved ones and the loss of employment.

Weardale county councillor John Shuttleworth said: “In the grand scheme of things the savings are miniscule and yet it will kill some of these people.

“People took the time to write in and express their views but it’s the same old story, they have been totally ignored, this so-called consultation has been an utter sham.”

Councillor Shuttleworth also criticised the council’s figures about a drop in the numbers of residents in each home saying: “They have been keeping the numbers low to justify their argument for closure. It’s morally wrong.”

In her report to cabinet, Ms Shimmin said: “It is acknowledged that there is some risk in moving frail elderly people which can never be completely eliminated.

“Research suggests that the risks can be minimised and managed.”

Morris Nicholls, cabinet member for adult services, said: “We know that this is a very emotive issue.

“We have carefully considered all of the feedback we received and appreciate all of the issues raised. However, at a time of significant financial constraints we also need to balance these concerns with the need to ensure that our services offer value for money and are fit for purpose.”

A public question and answer session begins at 9.30am before the Cabinet meets at 10am on Wednesday, April 16, at Crook Civic Centre.

Comments (8)

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5:42pm Tue 8 Apr 14

whyeye says...

Disgraceful, but why am i not surprised...........
..
Disgraceful, but why am i not surprised........... .. whyeye
  • Score: 8

5:49pm Tue 8 Apr 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Nothing is sacred any more. Not even our elderly. Shame on the disgusting excuse of a human being who made this decision. Hang your collective heads in shame DCC
Nothing is sacred any more. Not even our elderly. Shame on the disgusting excuse of a human being who made this decision. Hang your collective heads in shame DCC thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 13

6:47pm Tue 8 Apr 14

rat man says...

And meanwhile, inefficient, non statutory services like the Pest Control Team continue to run at a loss, and be subsidised by the council tax payer, and our pot holed roads continue to deteriorate further. Time to train up another batch of Civil parking Enforcement Officers, I think!!
And meanwhile, inefficient, non statutory services like the Pest Control Team continue to run at a loss, and be subsidised by the council tax payer, and our pot holed roads continue to deteriorate further. Time to train up another batch of Civil parking Enforcement Officers, I think!! rat man
  • Score: -5

8:13pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Greg in Weardale says...

And the shameful waste of money and disgracefully inefficient Link2 door to door buses are allowed to continue.
And the shameful waste of money and disgracefully inefficient Link2 door to door buses are allowed to continue. Greg in Weardale
  • Score: 8

9:57pm Tue 8 Apr 14

bambara says...

Of course had the Tories not changed the formula by which councils are funded to funnel money to Tory heartlands and away from areas like the northeast, money might still have been available to keep these homes open.
Of course had the Tories not changed the formula by which councils are funded to funnel money to Tory heartlands and away from areas like the northeast, money might still have been available to keep these homes open. bambara
  • Score: 4

10:14pm Tue 8 Apr 14

loan_star says...

bambara wrote:
Of course had the Tories not changed the formula by which councils are funded to funnel money to Tory heartlands and away from areas like the northeast, money might still have been available to keep these homes open.
Its a question of priorities and if DCC werent trying to score political points they could have kept the homes open. However they have an easy scapegoat as they will blame the government for funding cuts whilst their allowances and other things that could easily be cut , are unaffected.
[quote][p][bold]bambara[/bold] wrote: Of course had the Tories not changed the formula by which councils are funded to funnel money to Tory heartlands and away from areas like the northeast, money might still have been available to keep these homes open.[/p][/quote]Its a question of priorities and if DCC werent trying to score political points they could have kept the homes open. However they have an easy scapegoat as they will blame the government for funding cuts whilst their allowances and other things that could easily be cut , are unaffected. loan_star
  • Score: 4

12:13am Wed 9 Apr 14

Darkroom Devil says...

£918 a week??? And yet they expect the private sector to do it for less than half that.....

There's the reason care doesn't pay a living wage.
£918 a week??? And yet they expect the private sector to do it for less than half that..... There's the reason care doesn't pay a living wage. Darkroom Devil
  • Score: 4

6:15pm Wed 9 Apr 14

mugofavoter says...

Is this a foregone conclusion or is there to be a democratic vote? I ask elected councillors this, are you to be led by the nose by highly paid officers who seem intent to shed all responsibility for delivering their core duties or are you as representative's of your respective constituency wards prepared to stand up and speak up on behalf of the most vulnerable members of your communities and give them the respect and dignity that they so rightly deserve by ensuring they remain where they currently are and not shuffle them off to the cheapest option just so you can keep those misguided highly paid officers in the manner to which they have become accustomed or will you do the decent and right thing and oppose the closures. Also, ponder on this with the soon to be a council with no housing services, could not the money saved be invested in ensuring that at least the most vulnerable will be protected or do you intend to keep your housing staff on the payroll just so they can check up on the ones doing their job for them.
Is this a foregone conclusion or is there to be a democratic vote? I ask elected councillors this, are you to be led by the nose by highly paid officers who seem intent to shed all responsibility for delivering their core duties or are you as representative's of your respective constituency wards prepared to stand up and speak up on behalf of the most vulnerable members of your communities and give them the respect and dignity that they so rightly deserve by ensuring they remain where they currently are and not shuffle them off to the cheapest option just so you can keep those misguided highly paid officers in the manner to which they have become accustomed or will you do the decent and right thing and oppose the closures. Also, ponder on this with the soon to be a council with no housing services, could not the money saved be invested in ensuring that at least the most vulnerable will be protected or do you intend to keep your housing staff on the payroll just so they can check up on the ones doing their job for them. mugofavoter
  • Score: 6

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