Nursing homes fight receives new boost

Residents from Woodland View and Birch Avenue nursing homes protest along with their relatives about the potential closure of the specialist facilities.
Residents from Woodland View and Birch Avenue nursing homes protest along with their relatives about the potential closure of the specialist facilities.
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A CAMPAIGN to save two specialist dementia nursing homes has received another boost after an organisation set up to promote patient and public involvement in the NHS officially lodged its opposition to the moves.

The Sheffield Local Involvement Network, LINk, has spoken out against NHS Sheffield’s proposals to withdraw £2.8m of ‘top-up funding’ from Woodland View home in Norton and Birch Avenue in Chapeltown.

If the money is lost, the homes - which provide specialist care for up to 100 vulnerable patients, most with dementia - would be forced to close.

Sheffield LINk has been involved throughout the consultation period and has now submitted a report with its conclusions, which oppose the moves.

Concerns centred on a scepticism about the cost savings of £2.8m each year which LINk said would not be achieved for many years to come; a lack of alternative provision for people with dementia in the city; and a failure to look adequately at alternative options to closure.

The report said: “The cost per resident has not been robustly compared to the cost of similar residents in alternative homes and we believe the funding of Birch Avenue and Woodland View represents better value for money than is implied by the bare financial figures.

“We think the lack of alternative places within the city is a very significant factor both for now and in the future. Sheffield will need more places providing high quality residential nursing care for those with dementia in the future, and closing these homes will be a big loss in attempting to meet this need.

“In our view the analysis of potential alternative services that could be provided from these homes was not reliable. We would suggest a comprehensive review is undertaken of how the role of the two homes could be expanded within the context of the overall care for dementia sufferers within Sheffield.”

A fiercely-fought campaign led by relatives of residents received a boost earlier this month with the news that primary care trust NHS Sheffield had agreed to extend the consultation period to look at a new option which could lead to both homes being reprieved.

The trust 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 - designated for patients with severe conditions - to cover costs.

Simon Kirk from NHS Sheffield said: “The extension will also allow more time to explore proposed alternatives.”