Care homes to get £780,000 extra funding

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HEALTH bosses in Sheffield have decided to invest an additional £780,000 in two dementia care homes that were saved from closure last year.

Birch Avenue care home in Chapeltown and Woodland View care home in Norton were threatened with closure until a massive community campaign forced NHS bosses to change their minds last summer.

Sheffield Primary Care Trust had decided in January 2011 to cut ‘top up’ funding to the two centres, which would have forced them to close.

But a public consultation revealed huge opposition to the plans and the PCT decided last July to ‘re-commission’ the two homes, which provide specialist care for 100 people.

They said at the time they could only provide the same money as they had before.

Now, however, members of the new shadow Clinical Commissioning Group, which is due to replace the PCT, have admitted the funding is insufficient, and they need to put in an extra 15 per cent.

GPs on the commissioning group have now voted to put up the extra cash - around £783,000.

Tim Furness, the group’s associate director of business, planning and partnerships, told The Star: “Following the decision of the NHS Sheffield board in July last year to re-commission Birch Avenue and Woodland View Care Homes as providers of enhanced care, we are pleased the homes did not have to close and residents do not have to move.

“Although we haven’t been able to make the necessary changes within the current budget, by working together with all involved we have decided to invest a further £783,000 into the two homes.

“The new role for the homes does involve some change in working practices, for example, as the mix of residents changes - but we remain committed to causing as minimal disruption to residents as possible.”

In a report to councillors, Mr Furniss said the estimated cost of specialist staff was the reason for the increased funding requirement.

But he added: “The cost of running the service is around 19 per cent less than the average cost of enhanced care at other care homes and therefore still represents value for money.”