Is this the end for Beech Close and Pine Lodge?
Staffing shortages and run down buildings are behind proposals to close two local authority run care homes
By Sarah Ward
“They will strip assets, sell off properties, shut down services. I personally think it is a spiral of a descent into cuts in public services.” Cllr Phil Sawford
Residents who live at Beech Close in Desborough and Pine Lodge in Corby could be moved out and into homes run by private companies as part of a new strategy being considered by North Northamptonshire Council (NNC).
In a paper going before the authority’s executive this Thursday the council says it is struggling to get enough staff for the two homes, due to the low pay rate it offers, and also states the private sector can support the residents better. It also says both buildings are in poor condition and would require considerable investment to bring them up to an acceptable standard. The cost of improving Beech Close would be a minimum of £6m according to the council’s own surveys.
Both of the homes were rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission this summer.
Pine Lodge, which cares for adults with learning disabilities and autism, had been rated as good in 2018 when it was run by the former county council but under NNC’s management it has deteriorated.
Inspectors found that lack of staff had led to many residents staying in all day and not being taken out for activities.There was also damage to the rooms inside and the outdoor flower gardens were overgrown with weeds.
Beech Close, has capacity for 42 residents, but half of the building is currently out of use due to needed repairs. Inspectors found that a faulty heating system meant that it had to be on at all times, even in summer, which inspectors said could lead to dehydration of its elderly residents. They also said the quality of life for residents, many of whom had dementia, was being affected by the environment in which they were living.