NHS vows to explore ways to keep nursing homes open

Family members and interested  parties of residents  of Woodland  View and Birch Avenue care home outside of the Sheffield Town Hall waiting to  attend the Health and Community Care scrutiny panel meeting .
Family members and interested parties of residents of Woodland View and Birch Avenue care home outside of the Sheffield Town Hall waiting to attend the Health and Community Care scrutiny panel meeting .
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NHS Sheffield bosses have agreed to explore further options which may allow them to reprieve two closure-threatened nursing homes - after protests from residents’ families.

The trust currently provides £2.8 million every year towards the cost of running Birch Avenue and Woodland View care homes, in Norton and Chapeltown, where there are 100 places for people with conditions such as dementia.

NHS Sheffield’s board says it can no longer justify funding the homes, which are run by independent providers Guinness Northern Counties and South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Patients and their families held a protest outside NHS Sheffield’s headquarters on Prince of Wales Road, Darnall, last month urging the trust to reconsider and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts has also wrote to NHS bosses.

Now the trust is to delay its decision to look at a new option which could lead to both homes being reprieved.

It will consider how many residents of each home can be re-classified as needing specialist support - who could qualify for Government funding of £1,000 per week towards their care.

The homes could be retained if sufficient residents can receive funding to cover costs - designated for patients with severe conditions.

Ian Atkinson, the trust’s chief operating officer, said NHS Sheffield will now delay making a final decision so it can explore the option.

Mr Betts said: “This is a positive step forward.”

Simon Kirk, director of strategy at NHS Sheffield, said: “This extension will allow the completion of the assessments of current residents’ needs by the end of May. The assessments will provide important information to our board, and are a key part of understanding to what extent the homes do provide specialist care.

“The extension will also allow more time to explore the alternatives being proposed by the residents’ families, and for us to receive advice from an independent expert in dementia care.”