Kent County Council to go ahead with care home closures

KENT COUNTY COUNCIL has agreed to shut one care home temporarily and another permanently, leaving only one council-run home in north Kent for the next two years.

Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet member for adult social services, agreed to the closures despite objections raised in a 19-week public consultation.

His decision, made after an adult social services policy overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday January 12, will see the Limes in Brent Lane, Dartford closed and Manorbrooke, in Bevis Close, Stone shut for two years, then reopened as extra care housing.

Gravesham Place integrated care centre in Stuart Road, Gravesend, will be the last remaining council-run centre in the area.

Mr Gibbens said: “I am acutely aware that the proposals, consultation and decision have brought uncertainty and, along with officers, I am determined to provide as much reassurance as possible.

“Clearly, there will be people who are unhappy that the decisions don’t reflect their views. The key issue for me, however, has been the need to balance today’s needs with the demands of the future.“

Manorbrooke care home, which provides round-the-clock care for long-term residents, has been home to 94-year-old Margaret Knight for the past five years.

Her daughter-in-law Yvette Knight, aged 43, of James Road, Dartford, said that she will need to find a new home, before it closes in September, but that the suggested Mayflower in Hatshill Road, Northfleet, is too far away.

She said: “I’m really really disappointed KCC haven’t listened to the views of vulnerable people and their families.

“My mother-in-law is very angry. She’s angry that she wasn’t listened to and she’s angry she has to move out of the home she’s been in for the last five years. She’s worried about where to go next.”

Mrs Knight told News Shopper many of the old people don’t know what is happening. She said: “Many of them have dementia and don’t really understand. It’s down to us to sort that out.”

The extra care housing to be built on Manorbrooke’s site will consist of self-contained flats for older people, whilst still allowing them access to 24 hour care staff.

The 16-bed Limes centre currently provides recuperative day care for up to 20 residents a day, as well as intermediate care for residents aged over 55 who have recently left hospital.

Limes resident Betty Greenhill, aged 82, of Seymour Road, Gravesend, said: “We were hopeful it wouldn’t be closed but we can’t change their minds. Everyone is worried about where they’ll go, it’s very depressing at the moment.”

Grandmother-of-two Ivy Earnes, aged 89 of Moultain Hill, Swanley said: “It’s a lovely place. The people here are so kind and look after you. It’s a sin to think of closing it.”

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is now trying to secure a debate on the issue in Parliament after appealing to KCC to keep the homes open.

He said: “The prospect of their imminent closure has been met with dismay by everyone in Dartford that I have spoken to about this issue.

“I am extremely concerned for the future of care home provision in Dartford. I hope that even at this late stage that an alternative to closure can be found.”