Four Derbyshire care homes facing the axe

The Willows care home in Ripley could be closed under county council plans.
The Willows care home in Ripley could be closed under county council plans.

Plans to close up to five care homes across Derbyshire are set to go before the county council next week.

If approved by the authority next Tuesday, a public consultation into the proposed closures will be launched.

The homes earmarked for possible closure are: The Willows, Ripley; The Glebe in Alfreton’ Red House in Stonegravels, Chesterfield; Hillcrest in Kirk Hallam, Ilkeston; and Eccles Fold Resource Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith, which will lose six short-term care beds (excluding the day service).

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Cllr Paul Smith said: “Our goal is to secure the long-term future of county council accommodation and services for older people, which includes developing extra care housing and specialist residential care centres as well as continuing to provide more traditional residential care.

“To do this we have to look at some changes to the way we run some of our services.

“The proposed closures are not directly contributing to the cuts required of the council as the intention is that money saved by any closures that do take place would be reinvested in residential and home care services.

“However, there is a growing older population which, although a positive thing, puts further pressure on our overall budgets.

“We know many people highly value the residential care we provide and the care from our staff is second to none, which is why we want to continue providing residential care in the future where we can.”

The county council has been planning to change the way it delivers accommodation, care and support to older people since 2012 when a strategy was unveiled to close up to 20 residential care homes and replace them with extra care apartments.

Under the 2012 plan only four county council-run residential care homes would have remained open.

That plan was paused in 2013 following a change of administration at the council, and a review of how the council provides accommodation, care and support to older people was started, with a view to keeping more county council-run care homes open.

That review was stepped up six months ago to include an in-depth inspection of all the council’s residential homes, resource centres and specialist care centres.

The review has now led to new proposals being drawn up, which will see 18 residential care homes across the county remaining open, which the county council will consider next week.

If approved, care home residents, their families and local people will then get the chance to have their say on the proposed closures before any final decisions are made.

The in-depth review carried out before the new proposals were drawn up looked at every aspect of each home and centre, including the condition of the building, facilities for residents including bathrooms, whether the building could be adapted to meet the increasing needs of future residents, the cost of running the service now and of maintaining the building to meet current standards, dementia suitability and energy consumption. It has also looked at how many other care homes, including both county council and independent care homes there are in each of the areas providing similar services and accommodation. This information would be made available to the public to comment on as a part of the consultation process.