OAP Care Home ‘Closure’ Attacked

Campaigners fighting the proposed closure of a residential home in Crynant, near Neath, claim it has been “deliberately run down”. Neath Port Talbot Council said the Glyndulais home, which currently has 15 residents with 17 beds spare, did not meet “modern standards”.

A spokeswoman denied campaigners’ claims that staff were told to “turn away” 23 potential residents in 2006.

She said demand for places has reduced but said no decision had been taken.

News of the proposed closure of the home, which is in the Dulais Valley above Neath, was broken to staff and residents in January and the council will meet to discuss its fate on 28 March.

If the closure goes ahead, it is feared the residents and staff will be moved to new facilities outside the Dulais Valley.

The council has work on a new care complex in Caewern in Neath which it said would provide sheltered housing for elderly and disabled people in the Neath and Dulais Valley communities.

Ann Seal, from Seven Sisters, whose 92-year-old mother is a resident of the home, said moving residents and staff out of the Dulais Valley could cause difficulties for relatives.

“Many of the residents’ families live locally as do the staff,” she said.

“If they are moved to a different facility some without transport will find it difficult to continue visiting and even continue their work as carers.”

A spokeswoman for the council said six of the 12 permanent residents in the home were from the Dulais Valley.

“The demand for residential care in the Dulais Valley has fallen and at present the home, which has capacity for 32 beds, is occupied by just 12 long term and three short term residents,” she said.

But Mrs Seal claimed that demand for beds at Glyndulais in 2006 was high and staff at the home were told by management to turn away 23 requests for beds.

She also said relatives were concerned for the welfare of the home’s elderly residents, many of whom had been living there for several years.

“All of the residents are very upset about the closure. My mother has been in tears and her carer is very worried about her,” she said.

Campaigners have the backing of Welsh secretary and Neath MP Peter Hain and local AM Gwenda Thomas.

Speaking to the Neath Guardian, Mr Hain urged Neath Port Talbot council to look at alternative sites in the Dulais Valley so that residents and locally-based staff would not have far to go.

Over 100 people attended a public meeting about the possible closure on 29 January.

A council spokeswoman stressed that no decision had been taken about the future of the home and that a consultation exercise would take account of the views of residents, relatives, staff, trade unions and the health and social care community.

But she said the facilities at Glyndulais, which were built almost 40 years ago, did not meet “modern standards and expectations of a new generation of older people and their families”.

She added: “(They) want, rightly, the best standards of physical care in modern, up to date facilities.

“Bearing these factors in mind, it is clear that the status quo at Glyndulais cannot remain, and that we have a public responsibility to assess our options and identify a way forward.”

The spokeswoman said the welfare of residents at Glyndulais would remain at the top of the council’s agenda.