Sheffield dementia patients 'are being threatened with eviction' from care home by NHS bosses, families claim

Relatives of Birch Avenue Care Home residents are angry at new health funding reviews which could see them evicted.
Relatives of Birch Avenue Care Home residents are angry at new health funding reviews which could see them evicted.
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Campaigners say vulnerable dementia patients could be turfed out of a NHS-run nursing home due to a 'financial' reasons.

Campaigners say vulnerable dementia patients could be turfed out of a NHS-run nursing home due to a 'financial' reasons.

Relatives of patients at Birch Avenue care home in Chapeltown say they have been told each of the 40 patients will have their 'funding assessed and possibly withdrawn if they are not deemed to be in need of the level and quality of care the home provides'.

This process is due to be completed by the end of the financial year.

Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust said back in January 2017 they were pulling out of running the home after operating on a £300,000 loss for two years paid from reserves.

Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body responsible for funding the care of the patients, says it cannot find the six-figure sum needed to cover a shortfall and offered the services out to private bidders. No one so far has taken up the contract.

But CCG bosses said the reviews should 'normally be carried out every year to check whether patients’ needs have changed and make sure they are receiving the right care'. They added this was not part of cutting costs.

But Sue Harding, a spokesman on behalf of the Birch Avenue families, hit back and said some patients hadn't had a review in 'five years' and questioned the 'rush' to get these done by the end of the financial year.

Ms Harding said the 40 patients under review are living with 'extreme and complex needs' including dementia and Alzheimer's

"Last year it sought to privatise the care home but could find no takers. Now it looks as though they are going to pick on the patients themselves to cut costs," she said.

"This is a crisis for all these patients because the fact is there is nowhere else to go. Private care homes are struggling and certainly will not take on the kind of extreme and complex forms of dementia these patients are suffering from."

She added families will have to fork out '£2,000 a month' for the NHS element of funding and that two patients who have been reviewed have been 'recommended' that 'funding should be withdrawn'. The Star understands appeals have already been lodged.

“Most relatives wont be able to afford that kind of money so this policy would mean moving some of our most vulnerable citizens, who have no understanding of what is happening to them, into a strange environment," Sue said.

“Moving home is stressful at the best of times for people who have chosen to move and are fully aware of what they are doing. For someone frail and elderly, with little or no awareness, this is a terrifying experience."

Mandy Philbin, acting chief nurse for NHS Sheffield CCG said: “There is absolutely no thought of trying to save costs by cutting residents’ funding. We have not reduced the funding for Birch Avenue and are committed to making sure residents continue to get the care they need. The assessments being carried out are the continuing healthcare reviews that should normally be carried out every year to check whether patients’ needs have changed and make sure they are receiving the right care.

“This information also helps us to make sure we commission services appropriately to meet people’s needs. In the case of Birch Avenue, this is particularly important as we are working with the organisations involved in providing this service South Yorkshire Housing Association and Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and the relatives’ support group to find the best way of delivering the service at Birch Avenue. This work highlighted a number of areas where we have needed to gather further information, including making sure the continuing healthcare reviews for residents are up to date.

“Sheffield Health & Social Care Trust is continuing to provide the service while this is being worked through and there has been no change to the level of care provided. We hope the reviews will be carried out by February so we can complete this work as soon as possible and allay relatives’ concerns.”.