Three care homes in Lincolnshire will close by May in bid to cut spending

Three care homes are to close, losing 120 jobs and forcing 117 elderly people to find alternative support.

Lincolnshire County Council has now confirmed that Linelands, in Nettleham, Bonner House in Sleaford and Harrison House in Grantham, will shut by May.

It comes as part of a drive to save £39 million in adult social care spending by 2014/15.

The homes offer short respite, intermediate residential and day care services.

Users are now being offered help to continue receiving services using their Personal Care Budgets.

And affected staff are invited to apply for other council positions, re-train or set up as private care providers.

Thirty-seven new “housing with care” units for over 55s may be built at the Linelands site in a project involving the county council, West Lindsey District Council and housing association Longhurst Group.

While a new dementia centre is proposed in Grantham.

The county council and NHS Lincolnshire is also investing £9.1 million in support services and technologies, such as helping people get back to normal living after a spell in hospital.

But Nettleham resident Timothy Gross, 47, whose father Philip Gross, 72, has recently started day care at Linelands, is sceptical whether suitable alternatives are available.

“We have had tasters at other places and if there are the alternatives I would rather not bother,” he said.

“My dad would suffer. If he’s coming back from these places in tears then it’s not working.”

Councillor Graham Marsh, executive member for adult social care, said providing the best possible care for residents is an absolute priority, given Lincolnshire’s rapidly growing elderly population.

“By closing three outdated and expensive homes and replacing them with improved care options, we hope residents can see how we are meeting this priority,” he said.

Five other homes – Park View, Lincoln, The Cedars, Gainsborough, Crowtree House, Louth, Halmer Grange, Spalding and Ingelow Manor, Boston – all closed their doors in September.

About 220 people from these homes are getting support to help with the transition to private care.

“The feedback is that it is working,” said Terry Hawkins, the council’s interim assistant director of adult social care commissioning.

The closure of all eight homes is expected to save the council £2.5 million in revenue by the end of next year.

In total, 315 staff positions have been lost.

Mr Marsh added that the authority had promised to only close the three remaining homes when it was confident that alternatives were available.

“We’ve worked hard to identify and create those alternatives by stimulating the market and high quality choice with sufficient vacancies and specialisms, now exists in each area,” he said.

Lincolnshire Unison branch secretary John Sharman said that ironically users did not have any choice in continuing the status quo.

“All that will be available are services where the bottom line is they have to make a profit.”