‘Staggering’ £450,000 cost of running Vale’s Bryneithin care home for just two residents

THE ‘staggering’ cost to the tax payer of running Bryneithin Care Home last year was more than £200,000 per remaining resident.

It was announced at a full council meeting on June 27 that the total cost of running the residential care home in Dinas Powys – for the two remaining residents – was £450,000 for 2011/12.

And after 91-year-old Arthur Samuel died last week, it leaves just one 90-year-old woman being cared for by a team of 13 care workers at the home, off St Andrew’s Road.

Speaking at the meeting last month, the council’s new cabinet member for adult services, Cllr Stuart Egan, said: “As the number of residents decreases, fewer staff are needed, parts of the building have been closed down and the costs to the Council have been reduced. However, the revenue spend on Bryneithin in 2011/2012 was still £450,000.”

Three years ago the Vale Council proposed to close the facility, calling it too costly and ‘unfit for purpose’. But that plan was scrapped in 2010 after residents’ relatives won a legal battle to keep it open for the remaining 12 users until their deaths.

Dinas Powys councillor Chris Franks, who asked for the current operating costs to be revealed at the council meeting, called for urgent action to be taken on the future of the home.

“The costs involved are staggering,” said the Vale Plaid leader.

“It is shameful that the council ran down the home, which was highly regarded in the community.

“There is a crying need for our elderly and vulnerable to be properly cared for, yet this home has been almost destroyed by the last council. Their bungling has cost the council tax payers £450,000 a year.”

He said Plaid ‘would like to see the site used as a centre of excellence for the elderly in need of care and support’.

The daughter of Mr Samuel, Margo Farbrace, has long campiagned for the facility to be developed in to a dementia care centre.

She said this week that she hoped Cllr Egan – who backed calls for Bryneithin to be made into a centre of excellence when he was in opposition – still maintained that view.

“The home is excellent, with very caring, specialist staff,” she said.

“The care my dad had was the best I could have wished for. Everyone with dementia and their families should be treated like my father and my family were – with kindness, dignity and genuine care.

“When in opposition, Labour were in favour of Bryneithin being developed as a centre of excellence.

“If the council was pro-active it would now carry out a needs survey and assess the situation rationally, using all the predictions/forcasts for the increase in dementia, speak to the professionals and the families and tackle the problem properly, once and for all .

“In the meantime surely it makes sense to use the facilities that are being moth-balled at taxpayers’ expense for residential, respite and nursing EMI care which is desperately needed,” she added.

“After all, we are paying for these facilities.”

Lance Carver, head of adult services at the Vale Council, said: “The revenue spend on Bryneithin in 2011/2012 was £450,000. There was no capital expenditure last year.

“However this does not mean that the ongoing costs will be the same now that there is only one resident. As ever, we are reviewing the care arrangements when things change at the home.

“We continue to ensure that the home meets registration standards with regard to staffing levels and maintenance and this will continue to be the case while any residents remain at the home.

“We are currently reviewing the situation as a priority and will reduce the service within the home where it is considered safe to do so, ensuring it continues to meet regulatory requirements.”

Cllr Egan, who is also the authority’s deputy leader, said: “The new administration has had a considerable amount of issues to consider and is having to reassess many of the services inherited from the previous administration.

“The council will take a balanced and reasoned decision having considered all of the facts with regard to the future at Bryneithin. Decisions this important should not be rushed and all the options will need to be considered properly.”

Council Leader, Cllr Neil Moore, said: “The situation at Bryneithin and the social services overspend generally is a priority for this administration.

“We need to first speak to the family of the remaining resident and secondly examine if any other services, such as respite care, can be housed at the facility in the meantime.”