Two more Staffordshire care homes face axe

ANOTHER two old people’s homes are facing closure in Stoke-on-Trent. Heathside House, in Goldenhill, and Eardley House, in Bradley, had been earmarked for refurbishment. But Stoke-on-Trent City Council is now proposing to close the buildings, because there are so many private care homes in the city.

Latest figures show Eardley has 41 beds, made up of 36 long-term clients and five for short-term respite; while Heathside has 42 beds, with two for short-term respite and the others for permanent residents.

The plan comes three years after the council shut half of its 12 homes as part of a shake-up of elderly care services.

The council believes the proposals could save £500,000 between 2011 and 2013.

Under the plans a ‘centre of excellence’ for carers would open up on the site of one of the closed homes.

Tony Oakman, director of adult social care and health, said: “The idea is to have a carers’ centre of excellence. Most people do want to stay at home and respite care is vital.

“With the remaining home, there are a number of options. It could close, or it could be sold to a private owner.”

Although the scheme is very much in its infancy, it has won the support of councillors sitting on the adults and older people’s wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillor Roger Ibbs, pictured, said: “Yes, we are technically going to close two homes and end up with one facility, because there’s enough out there to do what we want to do.”

But Councillor Barbara Beeston said: “The council is saving money and old people have got to pay for it by going unprovided for.

“The elderly have paid their dues and are still paying out for care, because the council are closing care homes.”

The new carers’ centre of excellence would offer hotel-style accommodation, including information and advice about respite services, help with organising emergency, short-term or planned respite and a 24-hour respite service in times of crisis.

Of the other four city council-run residential homes, St Michael’s in Chell and The Meadows in Berry Hill, are centres of excellence for rehabilitation; while Abbots House, Abbey Hulton, and Marrow House in Meir Hay, are centres of excellence for dementia.

Andy Day, co-ordinator of North Staffordshire Pensioners’ Convention, said the charity’s executive would discuss the proposals today.