Cumbria County Council expected to okay closure of care homes

COUNCIL bosses are expected to approve proposals to close four care homes in Barrow to make way for a multi-million pound development this week.

Cumbria County Council’s cabinet will decide whether to shut Bevan House, West Point House, George Basterfield, and Rock Lea homes in favour of a £7.5m 60-bed residential home specialising in dementia at a meeting in Carlisle on Thursday.

The site of the new home has been narrowed down to either land at the former Parkview School or next to Abbey Meadow. Building is expected to be completed by spring 2013.

The current Cumbria Care homes have been deemed unfit for purpose by the county council’s adult social care team.

The move will cut the number of Cumbria Care’s residential beds in Barrow from 172 to 100.

But the county council says it is providing funding for 28 beds in the newly-opened Station View development in Holker Street and is working to provide more care in the community to allow people to stay at home.

Combe House, Walney, which has 40 beds, will stay open.

Consultation has been carried out with care home residents, their families, staff, unions and members of the public since the proposals were announced.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said the feedback on the proposals has been positive.

County council bosses said the four homes will be closed progressively, with the last two homes closing on the opening of the new build.

Councillor James Airey, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for adult social care, said: “If cabinet agrees the changes, it will be the launchpad for a raft of improvements that will make a real, positive difference in the way we care for older people in Barrow. This is a major investment by the county council and underlines our commitment to improving services.

“The overarching message we’ve received through the consultation process is that the quality of care in Barrow needs to improve.

“The people delivering the care are doing a fantastic job, but they’re doing that job in buildings not meeting modern standards.

“These changes will allow us to offer the options that people want and need today.

“I appreciate that those directly affected in the homes that will have to close as a result of these improvements have some concerns. But the change needs to happen and now is the time when we have everything in place to make it happen. I can assure them that their well being is our top priority and we will manage the changes so that they are made with the minimum of disruption.”