Care Homes Fears After Sell-Off Plan Revealed

The future of five Devon care homes hangs in the balance as council bosses today announced further details of a £100m privatisation deal.

Arthur Roberts House Care Home in Burnthouse Lane, Wonford, is one of five residential homes which Devon County Council and Shaw Healthcare Group say they have yet to reach a decision on.

In addition to Arthur Roberts, no decisions have been made about the long term futures of Barnhaven in Bampton; Lydiate Lodge in Lynton; Orchard Lea in Cullompton; and Tracey Vale in Bovey Tracey

However, the council said Arthur Roberts would continue operating for at least another three to seven years.

Under the proposals, the council’s 26 residential homes are to be transferred to the organisation, which has promised to invest £100m to develop social care services for the elderly.

The authority today announced 19 of the homes would be rebuilt on existing sites over an eight year period. In addition, the programme will involve the provision of 1,070 new accommodation units, including 370 extra care flats for elderly people with care needs.

A total of 55 of these flats are planned for a site in Whipton Barton, with a further 20 flats and 20 special respite beds at a site in Bodley, Heavitree.

The proposals would also increase specialist care for older people with dementia and nursing needs, which the council says is in short supply at the moment.

The council says the new residential homes would be state-of-the-art, with the extra care flats designed to meet the needs of frail elderly people, with care on site that can be used to support people to carry on living as an owner occupier or a tenant.

The flats in Exeter, East Devon and Mid Devon would be jointly taken forward with the city and district councils.

Shaw’s proposals also include 130 beds that can be used for respite, to support carers, or jointly with the NHS to help people come home from hospital.

If negotiations with Shaw are successful and agreement is finalised, around 1,100 council staff would transfer to Shaw Healthcare, with their terms and conditions of employment and pensions protected under law.

Councillor John Rawlinson, Devon County Council’s executive member for adults social care, said: “Social care for older people in Devon needs significant investment for it to meet the needs of the growing numbers of people in future.

“The proposals we are negotiating with Shaw Healthcare, who can provide the level of investment needed, will give people greater options about how and where they are cared for in future.

“Residents and staff in our homes are our main priorities, and every effort is being made to keep them informed of progress.”