Staffordshire care home closures finally get green light

Staffordshire Council has finally approved plans to close 14 older people’s care homes and ten others for disabled people.

The decision brings to an end months of political wrangling and legal challenges over the controversial proposals, which will affect around 500 residents and 1,000 care staff.

The plans will see around half the 315 existing residents of older people’s homes move into community-based supported accommodation, with those remaining placed in nursing and residential homes in the independent sector. Specialist dementia and rehabilitation care facilities will be retained.

Over the next three years, three quarters of the 180 disabled residents, most of whom have learning disabilities, will be provided with intensive care packages to enable them to live independently in the community. Assessments over residents’ future care needs were made by an independent agency commissioned by the council.

The closures programme will see around 1,000 care staff being retrained and deployed to community-based roles. Some will be offered early retirement.

Keith Skerman, director of performance at Staffordshire’s social care and health directorate, said the changes would save up to £5m a year in running costs that would instead be spent on community services. Sales of land and assets would net a further £15 million to invest in developing extra care housing, he added.

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