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Council to close 11 care homes to help plug funding gap

A Derbyshire council is looking to close up to 11 care homes in order to bridge its £40 million funding gap.

Derbyshire County Council runs and owns 16 care homes but is looking to close up to 11 of these in a drastic move to help balance its budget, with an aim to refocus on services for people with dementia and their carers.

The council makes clear that it “is not required by law to provide any in-house residential care or day centre provision” and as such is looking to close either nine or 11 homes and eight older people day centres.

This comes two years after the authority closed seven care homes in 2022 despite widespread opposition with a campaign that stretched throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also comes as the authority looks to close 10 children’s centres, four short-break centres and four-day centres for people with autism.

The county council details, in cabinet papers to be discussed on Monday, April 29 that the following 11 care homes could be closed in a bid to save £5.2 million:

  1. Briar Close, Borrowash
  2. Bennerley Fields, Ilkeston
  3. Castle Court, Swadlincote
  4. Florence Shipley, Heanor
  5. The Grange, Eckington 
  6. Lacemaker Court, Long Eaton
  7. The Leys, Ashbourne
  8. New Bassett House, Shirebrook
  9. Rowthorne, Swanwick
  10. Thomas Colledge, Bolsover
  11. Whitestones, Chapel-en-le-Frith

This includes three care homes (Briar Close, New Bassett House and Rowthorne) which avoided the chop in the 2022 closures and received millions of pounds in refurbishments, finished last autumn – totalling £8.7 million. They are in both lists of potential closures.

The 11 care home closures would affect 162 residents, who would need to be relocated to another council care home, to a private facility, or housed elsewhere.

A plan to close nine care homes, retaining Florence Shipley and Lacemaker Court from the list above, is also being considered, which would see 135 residents affected.

The council is also looking at closing all eight of its day centre facilities for older people which are not houses within other buildings. These facilities provide support and socialising opportunities for attendees, with 130 people to be affected.

All “non-integrated” day centres below are proposed for closure in both the options put forward by the council.

  1. Blackwell Day Centre, Blackwell
  2. Eccles Fold Day Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith
  3. Fabrick Day Services, Hilton
  4. Hasland Resource Centre, Hasland (Chesterfield)
  5. Jubilee Centre, New Mills
  6. Queens Court, Buxton
  7. Shirebrook Resource Centre
  8. Valley View Day Centre, Bolsover

The council has not yet detailed how many care home and day centre staff are at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the plans, writing that a further consultation on staffing would take place after the consultation on the closure plans.

Last September, the county council brought in a pre-emptive hiring freeze across the authority in order to bridge last year’s budget gap which once stood at £46 million.

That hiring freeze had an exemption for the continued appointment of adult social care staff, some of whom may now be at risk of losing their jobs.

In February,  the authority signed off on a maximum council tax increase of 4.99 per cent with two per cent ringfenced specifically for adult social care.

The council writes in the cabinet papers that it would continue to work with the NHS to provide care centre space for patients to be discharged to after their leave hospital and before they return home – but with fewer facilities with which to do so.

A core issue creating immense pressures across the NHS, including Derbyshire, is the ability to promptly discharge patients from hospital to their next place of care, with a shortage of care home facilities and adult social care staff continuously highlighted as issues holding the system up.

Councillor Natalie Hoy, the authority’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “People tell us that they want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, and with the right help and support, they can. 

This has led to a decline in demand for traditional residential care.

“With a growing number of people in Derbyshire living with dementia, we need to focus our resources on having the right options to support them and their carers, which would give us the resources needed to meet demand while ensuring adult care and health is sustainable so we can continue to support people who need us most.

 “We’ve always prided ourselves on being a well-managed council but like all other councils across the country we’re facing increasing financial pressures that are outside our control.

“And with demand for adult social care support rising, it means we have to consider how we continue to deliver the services we’re required to.

“This is not a position we want to be in, but with the pressures on budgets beyond our control we need to focus our resources where they’re needed most.

“I’d like to reassure everyone, especially our residents and clients, their families and carers, that these are proposals only and, if cabinet agrees to consult, no decisions would be made until everyone’s views were taken into account.”

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