Council to close care home while trust plans private facility

An artist's impression of how the new care home in Springfield Road will look. It is not expected to open until around 2014.

An artist's impression of how the new care home in Springfield Road will look. It is not expected to open until around 2014.

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LINCOLNSHIRE County Council is to close a Grantham care home - whilst a care trust revealed plans to build a brand new facility in Springfield Road.

Lincolnshire County Council announced on Wednesday plans to close Harrison House in Dysart Road with the loss of around 40 jobs - as well as two other care homes in Sleaford and Lincoln.

Scene Setter : Harrison House.

Scene Setter : Harrison House.

The homes will close by the end of May with the council providing those who currently use the services with ‘personal budgets’ which they can use to pay for care privately.

However, John Sharman of UNISON in Lincolnshire, criticised the council’s move to scrap all of its care homes.

He said: “All care will be entirely provided privately and we know from experience that when the profit starts to disappear, so do the companies that provide the care. We think it is extremely dangerous that Lincolnshire County Council intends to leave itself with nothing to fall back on.”

Mr Sharman believes it is also bad news for staff and the economy.

He said: “Clearly it is disastrous news for those people, many of whom have worked for the county council for a long time. It is further bad news for the economy. Any job lost in the public sector has a knock-on effect on the private sector.”

The closure of the three care homes follows the closure of five care homes last year. The county council estimates the overall move will save in the region of £2.5 million by the end of next year.

Councillor Graham Marsh, executive councillor for adult social care, said: “There will understandably be concerns among carers and people who use the homes about the disruption and change, but we’ll help them every step of the way to make it as smooth a transition as possible.

“Once these have happened, we’re confident that the future for both current and future users of care services in Lincolnshire will be much-improved.”

l The new care home in Springfield Road will be built by the Orders of St John Care Trust, with construction due to begin later this year.

The county council is working alongside the trust to help establish the home, expected to open in 2014.

Coun Marsh said: “It is absolutely good news for Grantham. It is a step in the right direction in providing health care and social care in one place.”

He said the new care home will help people in the Grantham area as the number of people expected to be diagnosed with dementia is set to rise as life expectancy continues to rise.

He said: “By 2030 it is estimated the number of people in Lincolnshire suffering from dementia will double.

“It is important to prepare facilities now so that we are not playing catch-up.”