Care homes closure plan

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COUNCIL chiefs have recommended care homes are closed as demand for their services fall, while maintenance bills rise.

Durham County Council has suggested Grampian House in Peterlee, Cheveley House in Belmont, Durham, and Mendip House in Chester-le-Street, along with others in Ferryhill and Stanhope are shut down.

Its cabinet will meet in a week’s time to discuss the proposals, which have been drawn up after consultation.

It says the cost of running the service in-house for a person stands at an average of £917 a week, while in the independent sector, the amount it pays for care, is £473.

At Grampian House, the average cost of a bed per week is £1,329, at Cheveley House it is £728 and at Mendip House it stands at £797.

The authority says it has spent approximately £780,000 on repairs and maintenance and capital works on the five homes since 2010.

During the next decade, it estimates it would cost £4.1million for their upkeep.

Fears raised during the consultation included families worried about a move, while others were concerned they would not receive the same level of care from an independent home.

The report by Rachael Shimmin, the council’s corporate director of children and adults services, and Councillor Morris Nicholls, cabinet member for adult services, states there is sufficient capacity in independent homes to meet the residents’ needs.

They add: “Whether to close the homes is a highly emotive topic. The extensive consultation exercise has demonstrated the strength of feeling from a range of people.”

The meeting will be held at 9.30am at the council offices in Crook on Wednesday.