Care homes clo­sure plan

Cynon Valley - - FRONT PAGE - AN­THONY LEWIS news­[email protected]­

SEV­ERAL care homes in Rhondda Cynon Taf will close un­der a coun­cil pro­posal to shake up care for the el­derly. The coun­cil cur­rently pro­vides 322 beds across 11 care homes.

SEV­ERAL care homes in Rhondda Cynon Taf will close un­der a coun­cil pro­posal to shake up care for the el­derly.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity has not said how many of the 11 coun­cil-run care homes in the bor­ough would close or stay open un­der its pro­posal, which it is putting out to con­sul­ta­tion.

A rec­om­men­da­tion put for­ward by con­sul­tants Prac­tice So­lu­tions in an in­de­pen­dent re­view had sug­gested clos­ing all 11.

How­ever, the coun­cil’s pre­ferred op­tion is to keep some open of the homes open. It said this would pro­vide choice, pro­tect against mar­ket fail­ure and al­low it to pro­vide more spe­cial­ist care.

The coun­cil said the num­ber of homes that re­main open would be based on the ca­pac­ity it thinks it needs in each of the Rhondda, Cynon and Taf ar­eas.

The coun­cil cur­rently pro­vides 322 beds across 11 care homes in­clud­ing ap­prox­i­mately 145 beds for peo­ple with de­men­tia.

In place of the care homes, the coun­cil is in the process of de­vel­op­ing 300 places in “ex­tra care” fa­cil­i­ties across RCT which were agreed in a £50m plan in 2017.

The first of six so called “ex­tra care” schemes is al­ready un­der way in Abera­man and will pro­vide 40 apart­ments. In “ex­tra care” schemes, el­derly peo­ple live in their own apart­ments in blocks where they can re­ceive the level of care and do­mes­tic sup­port that they need.

If this plan is agreed, a fur­ther pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tion would be needed with res­i­dents and staff be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion is made after which a planned re­lo­ca­tion of all res­i­dents would take place, with sup­port and as­sess­ments put in place to as­sist them with change and to ac­com­mo­date their choice of home

The coun­cil says there a is shift to­wards more com­mu­nity-based op­tions when it comes to care, but that there is still an over re­liance on care homes with Rhondda Cynon Taf still plac­ing a greater pro­por­tion of peo­ple aged 65 or over in res­i­den­tial care than other Welsh au­thor­i­ties.

The cur­rent av­er­age oc­cu­pancy of the coun­cil homes is 88% and the coun­cil says it is un­likely that de­mand for its care homes will in­crease sub­stan­tially in the near fu­ture.

Coun­cil­lor Geraint Hop­kins said he be­lieves, as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, that the coun­cil should keep a pres­ence in the RCT care mar­ket.

He said: “It is right that we are look­ing at this now be­cause the coun­cil doesn’t just have a duty to the cit­i­zens of RCT now, but a duty to pre­pare the way for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions as well.”

Coun­cil­lor Pauline Jar­man, leader of the op­po­si­tion, said she ex­pects the process for en­gag­ing is “ro­bust, im­par­tial and non­judge­men­tal. That the peo­ple are not only heard but lis­tened to.”

Peter Crews, the branch sec­re­tary for Uni­son in the Cwm Taf area, said that their pri­or­ity is their mem­bers and that they would not ac­cept any com­pul­sory re­dun­dan­cies.

“We do sup­port the in­vest­ment be­ing brought in to de­velop new res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties called ex­tra care. No ser­vices can stand still.

“We are will­ing to work with the coun­cil but we are look­ing for a com­mit­ment. There is go­ing to be an im­pact on cer­tain homes and staffing. We will do every­thing we pos­si­bly can to pro­tect their (care home staff ) jobs.

“They now there needs to be change but change for the right rea­son.”

Coun­cil­lor An­drew Mor­gan, the leader of the coun­cil, said: “We can give a com­mit­ment that what­ever comes at the end of this we think we can ac­com­mo­date staff so we won’t be fac­ing com­pul­sory re­dun­dan­cies.”

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