Empty Derby Care Homes Beds Are Costing Tax-Payers £900k A Year

EMPTY beds in Derby care homes are wasting nearly a million pounds a year of tax-payers’ money, according to a report. In the city’s eight council-run homes, 83% of beds are occupied – lower than the 95% expected of such homes.

And, according to the report compiled by Councillor Fareed Hussain, chairman of Derby City Council’s adult services commission, those spaces are wasting about £900,000.

The report said that the running costs of the homes remained roughly the same regardless of the number of people living in them, meaning empty beds were wasting thousands of pounds a week.

Mr Hussain, former council cabinet member for adult social services, is currently out of the country, but Labour group leader Chris Williamson said the figures backed up his party’s decision to close Bramblebrook House, in Mickleover.

That decision was overturned by the Liberal Democrats when they came into power in May and ordered a review of all homes, which is due to end in January.

Mr Williamson said: “The Lib Dems are wasting nearly £1m a year with keeping these empty beds.

“When we looked at closing Bramblebrook, the numbers of people in our residential care homes was falling, therefore we had to make sure we were utilising public money most appropriately.”

Mr Hussain’s report states that, as of October this year, just 235 beds out of 282 across all the homes were occupied.

The average cost of each of those beds is about £370 a week each or £904,000 a year for all the empty beds.

Ruth Skelton, Lib Dem cabinet member for adult services and health challenged the figures.

She said since the Lib Dems made the decision to review all care homes, there were more people moving into care homes in the city and the number of occupied beds had risen from 202 in July to 235 in October.

She said: “These figures show that things have improved dramatically since July when we decided to do a strategic review. That’s because we are being clear to people looking to go into homes that we are carrying out this review but that nothing will happen overnight.”

Ms Skelton said her party’s proposal in September to close Arthur Neal home, in Mackworth, and replace it with extra-care housing meant it was sensible to have empty care beds in the city.

Extra care gives people their own flats with care staff available all the time.

Ms Skelton said: “We obviously will have to find new homes for residents in Arthur Neal if that closes so we needs to have some beds free,” she said.

The review of care homes will finish in January, after which a report will go to the cabinet.

Mr Hussain’s report will be considered by the adult services commission on Monday, which can make recommendations to the cabinet.