MASS LOBBY OF THE SURREY CABINET MEETING ON 10 MARCH
Despite nearly 4,500 people signing a petition, over 400 written responses, two packed public meetings and a protest walk through Reigate, the Surrey County Council Cabinet look set to rubber stamp the closure of all six of their in-house care homes on Tuesday.
Brockhurst in Ottershaw, Cobgates in Farnham, Dormers in Caterham, Longfield in Cranleigh, Park Hall in Reigate and Pinehurst in Camberley are ALL set to close if the cabinet accepts the recommendations from the review.
Residents, residents and staff have been in tears after hearing this news on Monday. Many had felt that the logic of their arguments and the strength of their campaigning was having an effect. The consultation responses could not have been clearer. The overwhelming majority of respondents wanted the homes to 'remain as is (option 1)' or to 'be extended and refurbished (option 2)'. Only 31 responses out of 470 supported option 4, closing the homes.
What did come out clearly from the consultation is overwhelming praise for the staff in the six homes. "Generally, respondents praised staff for the way they looked after their loved ones, and gave less weight to having modern accommodation with better bathroom and toilet facilities, hoists and more efficient heating and electrical systems". There was a high degree of fear over the perceived quality of care in private or 'independent' care homes. Recent horror stories such as the forced closure of the Marok Care Home in Banstead have not helped allay these fears. People are also concerned about the potential negative impact on residents and the potential loss of valuable and experienced staff. The loss of various facilities available at the homes, such as respite care, dementia services, learning disability services etc. was also a key point of concern. A brief summary from SCC is appended below, with a link to the Cabinet papers on the SCC website.
The Cabinet on Tuesday will decide whether to go ahead with these closures, despite the overwhelming opposition of residents, relatives, staff and the local community.
There will be a major protest lobby outside the cabinet from 12.30pm till 2pm (meeting starts at 2pm) at County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston KT1 2DN.
Cabinet papers can all be found here: http://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=120&MId=4386&Ver=4
Buses have been booked from at least two of the care homes.
Whatever happens on Tuesday, Save Our Services in Surrey will not give up the fight to protect these valued and loved local services. We will be meeting on Monday 23rd March at 7pm in the Maybury Centre in Woking to discuss 'What Now for Surrey Care Homes' - all welcome.
STOP PRESS - We are also now aware of SCC proposals to close 8 Sure Start Childrens Centres in Surrey. This really is CUTTING PUBLIC SERVICES, FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE. Watch this space and please contact us if you have any further info.
Future of in-house older people’s homes
Update on future of in-house older people’s homes
A report is going to the council’s decision-making Cabinet on 10 March 2015 to consider the future of six residential older people’s care homes owned and operated by the council. The report (along with additional information and the results of the consultation carried out between 30 October 2014 and 31 January 2015) is being published today on the council website.
The consultation asked for views on four options for the future of the homes - Brockhurst, Cobgates, Dormers, Longfield, Park Hall and Pinehurst. These were:
1 Keep the homes as they are
2 Extend and refurbish or redevelop the homes
3 Sell or lease to another provider
4 Support residents to move, and close the homes (the council’s preferred option)
• To highlight the challenges of meeting future care needs in these homes
• To explain the thinking around the different options
• To see if there are other viable options we have not considered
• To understand what is important to people
What were the main issues raised in the consultation?
There were more than 400 responses, as well as two petitions organised by trade union representatives. Most of the responses were from families of residents who wanted to keep the homes open. However, no viable options were put forward that addressed the inadequacies of the buildings, which prevent their providing the best quality care environment for residents in future.
Praise for staff – Generally, respondents praised staff for the way they looked after their loved ones, and gave less weight to having modern accommodation with better bathroom and toilet facilities, hoists and more efficient heating and electrical systems.
Standard of care - Some were sceptical about the standard of care in independent homes, although the vast majority of care home places are in the independent sector. The council currently only directly provides a tiny proportion (less than 10%) of care home beds available in the county. Council homes and independent homes are all inspected and held to the same standard of care by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Impact on relatives and staff - People were also understandably concerned about the impact of moving an elderly relative, although the council is very experienced in the preparations and sensitive handling required when moving people to and from home, hospital or reablement facilities. The potential impact on staff was also raised. The council is keen to retain skills and knowledge, and is committed to looking at other job opportunities for staff in the event of any closures.
Loss of a local service - The loss of a local amenity concerned some people. They pointed to the potential for a wider use of the homes beyond residential care to –
• provide respite services for carers
• support people living with dementia
• support people with learning disabilities
• promote independence by supporting people to regain skills after a hospital stay or prevent their need to be admitted to hospital.
In the Cabinet report, the Adult Social Care directorate is now seeking to explore how these care home sites could be re-used in different ways to support wider health and social care needs in Surrey instead of continuing to provide residential care.
Profits from property sales – Some respondents queried whether the council was seeking to raise money through selling off the care home sites. This has never been the case. The council’s intention in reviewing its role as a direct provider of residential care was always to ensure Surrey residents could have access to the best quality care and support. This is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve as care needs are changing more towards nursing and other complex care, which cannot be provided in these homes.
Although they are approaching the end of their operational effectiveness as residential homes, the council is not looking to sell the properties. Potential alternative options for using the sites for health and social care purposes will be considered if the Cabinet agrees to their closure as residential homes.
Why did we need to look at the future of these homes?
• Surrey Adult Social Care’s strategy over the last few years has been to promote services that help older people live independently as long as possible – this is in line with national trends and is also generally what people prefer
• We have been so successful in helping people live independently that they are living in their own homes now for much longer
• At the point their needs cannot be safely met at home, their needs are more complex and often require nursing rather than residential care
• The council is not registered to provide nursing care
• These six homes, built between1970 and 1990, are not designed to meet these changing needs and new standards of accommodation, and they are under-utilised as demand for residential care has fallen.
What are the recommendations going to Cabinet?
In the report going to the Cabinet on 10 March, the Cabinet will be asked to agree the following recommendations:
1. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Brockhurst.
2. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Cobgates.
3. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Dormers.
4. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Longfield.
5. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Park Hall.
6. To close residential care provision by Surrey County Council at Pinehurst.
7. That a phased implementation programme to move people to alternative services is undertaken, which must take account of best practice and be guided by individual assessments of those affected, including carers.
8. To identify suitable alternative services for each affected person in those homes closing.
9. That further work is undertaken for each property to fully evaluate potential alternative use to meet future needs for adult social care.
10. That a full staff consultation begins, with the objective, where possible, of retaining existing staff skills and knowledge.
We will update everyone on our mailing list after the Cabinet’s decision.
If you have any questions or would like to be added to the mailing list, please talk to one of our local managers or contact the project team direct on:
Tel: 01372 832257
Text: 07968 832924
Post: Service Delivery, Fairmount House, Bull Hill, Leatherhead KT22 7AH
Website: www.surreycc.gov.uk/futureofolderpeoples homes