Solihull may face injunction

Solicitors acting for three care home residents have issued
judicial review proceedings last week against Solihull Council over
plans to close one of its residential care homes.

Pat Sanderson, whose father-in-law is one of three residents
heading the action against the council’s plans to close Lyndon
Croft Residential Home, has accused the council of basing its
opinion of the home’s viability on early drafts of the new national
minimum standards for care homes for older people.

Pointing out that the final standards were not published until
March 2001, and that draft care home regulations came out only last
month, Sanderson said: “They made the decision in April, and had
been talking about it since January. We believe Solihull has jumped
the gun.”

Solicitor Alastair Wallace, who is acting on behalf of the three
residents, is confident that the courts will grant leave for
judicial review within the next two months. He confirmed that, if
the council failed to put closure plans on hold in the meantime, he
would also be forced to seek an injunction.

“It’s very Draconian to close a home when it’s not clear just
how this care standard regime is going to pan out,” Wallace

“The argument in Lyndon Croft is to what extent do you apply
these standards. If not every room meets the standards, do you
close it down? What if all the residents and relatives like it, it
is a good home, and it has other areas of space?”

Wallace, of Tyndallwoods Solicitors, said the incoming National
Care Standards Commission, which will be responsible for regulating
and inspecting care homes from April 2002, must not act in a
“completely mechanistic” way.

He said the Department of Health had already implied a certain
degree of flexibility by acknowledging in the draft regulation
document that the NCSC would “take account of the standards” when
enforcing regulations but “may also take into account any other
factors it considers reasonable or relevant to do so”.

A regulatory impact assessment on the new regulations for care
homes for older people will also be carried out to determine “the
balance between expected costs to providers and the benefits for
service users and their carers of ensuring quality care”.

Solihull Council’s solicitor Michael Blamier-Brown said the
council had not been served any papers as yet but it would
carefully consider the points made in them when it was.

“The view of the council has been all along that the only option
for Lyndon Croft is for it to be closed so it can be replaced by a
brand new facility.”

And he added: “The council has given an important undertaking to
residents that they can come back to any new home built on the

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