Alert close - icon Fill 1 Copy 10 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Untitled-1 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Fill 1 Copy 10 menu Group 3 Group 3 Copy 3 Group 3 Copy Page 1 Group 2 Group 2 Skip to content

The future of care homes - frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions on the proposals for the future of our care homes.

Why are you proposing closing homes when the number of older people is growing?

An independent survey of our older care homes and subsequent analysis found defects in 10 homes, highlighting the need for extensive work to bring them up to modern care standards.

Even if repairs were carried out, some of the homes are not fit for the purpose of providing high quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs and do not have the room for essential equipment with residents sharing toilets rather than having their own en-suite.

Our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Commissioning Strategy 2019-2035 also projects there will be less need for residential care in the long term.

Instead the emphasis will be on providing alternatives to residential care, working with partners and developers to create community based services, care-ready housing, Extra care, and providing extra support to help older people to lead more independent lives.

The report sets out what we think the priorities are for our own care homes and community care centres, and which homes we think we need to retain in order to meet these priorities in future. 

If we do nothing, there will be an increasing number of older people who may need residential care in future so our plan is to offer alternatives to this so that people are supported to live more independently. 

With this in mind we have to consider whether it’s right to commit public money to refurbish homes we will not need in the long term and which aren’t fit for purpose now.

The other private homes in this area all have top-ups who is going to pay for that if either I or my relative has to move to one of these homes?

We have a series of pledges to support residents affected by any home closures and this includes a commitment to meet any reasonable top-up fees in the event that an alternative placement is required in a home where this is required.

Why has the council let the homes get into such a state of disrepair?

Unfortunately we have a large number of older buildings that, despite ongoing maintenance, still need extensive work, including rewiring in the near future, to bring them up to modern standards.

Once we became aware of the extent of the repairs needed in these homes, we carried out immediate work to upgrade fire alarms, replace fire doors, increase evacuation equipment and have extra staffing at night to ensure everyone’s safety while we considered our future strategy.

However, even if the work was carried out, some of these homes are not fit for the purpose of providing high quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs.

Taking this, and the findings of the strategy which projects diminishing need for residential care in the long term, into account, Cabinet has to consider whether it is a good use of public money to repair these buildings.

Haven’t you already made your decision?

We fully understand that this will be an anxious time for everyone affected but we’d like to reassure you that no decisions will be taken until we have heard everyone’s views and taken these into account.

The consultation will last for 12 weeks and we will make it as easy as possible for everyone to give their views including meetings with residents and their relatives and carers in the homes, and a series of public consultation meetings open to everyone being held in libraries.

What will happen to residents in homes that will be refurbished?

Residents would be able to stay in these homes while the refurbishment work goes ahead.

However, as work is likely to be disruptive, they will be offered the option to move out temporarily if they wish and would be fully supported by our staff to do this, taking into account their needs and wishes.

Even if they opt to stay put, they may need to relocate within the building to allow access to certain areas at certain times but they would be fully supported by our staff to do that and their care will not be compromised in any way.

If a decision is made to close a home, what would happen to residents?

We’d like to reassure people that no decisions will be taken until we have heard everyone’s views and taken these in to account.

We will do everything we can to support our residents and their relatives and carers during this time and would like to reassure them that their care will not be compromised in any way.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation, we’d carry out a full assessment of all our residents’ needs and ensure they and their relatives are fully supported to make the best choices for their future.

The council already has £30 million so why not do the work on all of the homes, it’s only an extra £4 million?

Based on the condition surveys we estimate the cost of work to be around £34 million. However, as with any large project, the actual scale of work will only become clear once contractors can get inside the building so costs could be significantly higher.

The total budget that has been set aside includes the cost of works carried out immediately to ensure the safety of residents, staff and visitors and the costs associated with finding alternative care home placements if residents opt to move out during refurbishment work.

However even if repairs were carried out, the fact remains that they are not fit for the purpose of providing high quality care to older people with increasingly complex needs.

Our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Strategy also projects a diminishing need for residential care in the future so Cabinet has to decide if this would be a good use of public money.

If the electrics have failed why aren’t you evacuating the homes on the grounds of health and safety?

We recognise that the work needs to be carried out as soon as possible. Our number one priority is the wellbeing and safety of our care home residents which is why we carried out immediate work to replace fire alarms, fire doors, provided additional evacuation equipment and increased staffing at night to ensure their safety.

If circumstances change we would take immediate steps to evacuate the buildings.

The report says there might be an increased fire risk, what have you done to address this?

When we became aware of the extent of work needed in our homes, including rewiring, we carried out immediate work to replace fire alarms, fire doors, provided additional evacuation equipment and increased staffing at night to ensure the safety of residents.

Ideally undertaking rewiring is the best way of reducing any risk but the measures being taken will significantly improve our ability to respond in the event of a fire occurring. The mitigation work is not dependent upon, or linked to the consultation which is being undertaken. The work will be completed regardless of the outcome of the consultation.

The residents are very frail and a move to another home will have a detrimental effect on their health, which could be fatal. Why are you putting their health at risk?

We fully appreciate this will be a worrying time for everyone affected by these proposals.

We’d like to reassure people that no decisions will be taken until we have heard everyone’s views and taken these in to account.

We will do everything we can to support our residents and their relatives and carers during this time and would like to reassure them that their care will not be compromised in any way.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation, we’d carry out a full assessment of all our residents’ needs, including any health issues, and ensure they and their relatives are fully supported to make the best choices for their future.

Our staff will fully support our residents to minimise disruption and ensure any moves went as smoothly as possible.

The council should spend less on new homes and invest in the established homes which are still badly needed. Why is the council not prioritising doing the work and keeping the homes open?

Even if repairs were carried out these older care homes are no longer fit for the purpose of providing high quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs as they don’t have room for essential equipment and residents have to share toilets.

Our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Commissioning Strategy 2019-2035 also projects there will be less need for residential care in the long term.

Under the proposals we would refurbish and keep open 3 homes in the medium term. This is to ensure we have enough accommodation for older people while we develop alternatives to residential care by working with partners and developers to create community based services, care-ready housing, Extra care and providing extra support to help older people to lead more independent lives.

Cabinet needs to decide whether it is a good use of public money to carry out significant refurbishment on the other 7 homes that are proposed for closure and which would not be needed in the longer term.

The report talks a lot about alternatives to residential care but these homes are badly needed. Where are people who need a care home in future supposed to go if this home closes?

With 23 care homes, we are the largest local authority provider of residential care in the country. Other councils either no longer provide residential care or have decided to focus on providing targeted provision to meet local need. In other areas the emphasis has been on working with the private market to develop and provide services.

We believe we can do more to support people to live independently in their own homes, which is what they say they want, and part of this will include encouraging the provision of different forms of support in appropriate accommodation.

However we remain committed to providing high quality care for Derbyshire residents and we're currently building a new state-of-the-art care centre in Belper which is due to open in the spring and have plans for another development in Ilkeston.

What will happen to the community support bed / rehab services provided from here?

We would work together with partners to ensure these services were relocated to another venue and maintained.

We use this home for short breaks / respite care, where am I supposed to get this service from in future?

We understand this is an anxious time but our staff would work with you to identify alternative local services for you to use in future if this service were to close.

This is all about saving money, why is the council not up front about that?

We have a budget set aside to enable us to carry out this work, including supporting residents to move, pay top-up fees and carry our remedial work to ensure the safety of everyone in these homes.

However these homes are old and despite regular maintenance require significant work to bring them up to modern day standards. Even if the work was carried out, the buildings simply aren’t fit for the purpose of providing high quality care for older people with increasingly complex needs as they don’t have room for the equipment we need or en suites to maintain residents’ dignity.

Taking this into account, as well as our strategy which projects that there will be less need for residential care in the future, Cabinet has to consider whether it would be good value for money to repair these homes if they are not fit for purpose or needed in the longer term.

I don’t believe the homes are 'not fit for purpose' my relative is very happy here and has no complaints about the care being provided. Why are you saying they are 'not fit for purpose'?

Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure our residents get high quality care which helps them to lead dignified, fulfilled lives.

However some of the buildings they have to do this in are far from ideal and don’t match up to modern day care standards that people expect and deserve.

While our older homes are compliant with care regulations as they were built before the current regulations came in to force, the fact remains they have small bedrooms, narrow doors and corridors, and don’t have en-suite toilets which impacts on residents and the staff trying to support them.

Furniture has to be removed from bedrooms so that moving and handling equipment can be used and often residents have to wait longer to use an accessible toilet as several residents will have to share the bathroom facilities.

When our older care homes were designed and built, our residents’ needs were not as complex and they were more able to look after themselves. These days older people going in to residential care have significantly higher needs and our older buildings do not help us to meet these.

The other private homes in this area are not as good as this. Why would you close this home when it is a good home with a 'good' rating from CQC?

It is regrettable that we are having to consider these proposals but they are not related to the quality of care being provided but rather to the quality of the buildings that care is being provided in.

If a decision is ultimately made to close a home, our staff would fully support all our residents to find alternative accommodation taking into account their needs and wishes.

Why have you chosen this home for closure and not for refurbishment like the other 3? It is no worse than them.

These proposals are based on an independent survey which found many of our older homes needed significant refurbishment, including rewiring, to bring them up to modern day care standards that Derbyshire residents expect and deserve.

Of the 10 homes, the 3 earmarked for refurbishment need the least amount of work and would be required in the medium term to ensure we have enough accommodation to meet the needs of our older people.

The 7 homes where we're consulting on their closure, require extensive work and according to our Older People’s Housing, Accommodation and Support Strategy would not be needed in the longer term.

What will happen to the staff?

We appreciate that this will be a worrying time for our staff and we will do everything we can to support them through this difficult time. We have a policy of seeking to redeploy staff wherever possible and would look to find alternative employment within the council for as many people as possible.

I heard about these proposals in the media. You didn’t even have the decency to tell us about them in person. What do you say to that?

It is regrettable and we’d like to apologise that some people did not hear about these proposals from us.

We had planned carefully how we told everyone to ensure as many people as possible heard it at the same time but unfortunately the story was leaked and we had no choice but to bring this forward.

When will homes close?

If a decision is made to close the homes taking account of everyone’s views, we would look to do this in a planned way. We need to ensure that alternative arrangements can be made for all our residents and that we have time to develop alternative accommodation in the area.

We are expecting a report on the outcome of the consultation to be discussed by Cabinet in May and this will include an equality impact analysis. If closures were agreed, these would be phased with East Clune, The Spinney, Ladycross House and Beechcroft closing first. They would then be followed by Holmlea, Goyt Valley House and Gernon Manor as soon as possible afterwards.

When will residents have to move?

We can’t say at this stage where people might move to if a decision is ultimately made to close any of the homes as we will need to take into account residents’ needs and their personal choices.

All our residents will be re-assessed, which will also take into account any medical issues, and we will work with them and their families to find suitable alternative accommodation. We understand this will be worrying for them but we will fully support them through this difficult time.

Our work to re-assess residents in the first phase of homes will begin after the May meeting (assuming a decision is made to close or refurbish). However, it is difficult to give accurate timescales on possible closures as this depends on things like alternative places being available and whether people are well enough to move as we would never force or pressurise people to move.

How bad will the disruption be when refurbishment work is undertaken?

As with any major refurbishment, there is likely to be a lot of disruption due to noise and dust and because of this our residents will be offered the chance to relocate temporarily if they wish.

Even if residents chose not to move out temporarily they may need to relocate within the home so that work can take place in certain areas.

Our staff will fully support our residents and their relatives to find alternative accommodation if they wish or to move rooms to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible and disruption is kept to a minimum.

How long will the refurbishment work take and will I definitely be able to move back here?

If all the residents choose to move out temporarily, the work will be able to be completed much more quickly – approximately around 9 months to complete.

However if residents decide to stay the work will take longer, possibly even a year.

Once we are ready to begin work we will carry out a full assessment of what is needed so these estimated timescales may change.

It is certainly our intention that residents will be able to move back into the home.

Will the staff be able to carry on supporting me if I move to another home?

We don’t know the answer to this at the moment as it will depend on which home you relocate to and whether it is run by us or not. If all the residents relocate then staff would be relocated too but it is too early to say where.

What does 'in the medium term' mean and what happens after that, will you just close the home then instead of now?

In this context, the 'medium term' is approximately 5 years and is linked to the other work we are doing as a council to develop alternatives to residential care, such as working with partners to develop care-ready housing, Extra care or providing more support to enable people to live independently at home for longer.

This report sets out the council’s plan for the next 5 years, up to 2025 so it is likely that a further review of services will be required in 2025.

What if more problems are identified when you start the work will you then decide to close the home rather than refurbish it?

As with any major project, we won’t know the true extent of the work until contractors get inside and do a full assessment. If there is significantly more work required this may need to be reviewed but we do not envisage this at the moment.

Why haven’t safety visits been put in over the years to avoid the situation we are now in?

We regularly inspect all of the council’s buildings, including care homes, and any essential maintenance is undertaken as soon as possible. The electrical installations are inspected every 5 years and this was last carried out in September 2019. Unfortunately, the extent of the work needed to address the concerns cannot be done through routine maintenance and needs to be carried out immediately to ensure the continued safety of all our residents.

Has the emotional distress on the residents been taken into consideration?

Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to support our residents during this time and their care will not be compromised in any way.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation and any decisions ultimately taken by our Cabinet, we’d carry out an individual full assessment of all our residents’ needs and ensure they and their relatives and carers would be fully supported to make the best choices for their future.

We understand this is upsetting for everyone involved and deeply regret that we find ourselves in the position of having to consult on the potential closure of 7 homes and the refurbishment of 3 others. 

What happens if a care home resident doesn’t want to accept the choices that have been given to them for alternative care? Will they be forcibly moved?

If, following consultation, a decision is made to close a home then it will close according to the timetable determined, provided that suitable accommodation has been identified for each individual resident in a timely manner.

However suitable alternative accommodation will be identified only after a detailed assessment process has taken place.

We would work with residents and their families to help them make the best choices for their future.

So does that mean my relative will be able to remain in the home until you can find somewhere suitable for them?

Yes, they would be able to remain at the care home until we can find an alternative that is suitable.

If the care home can remain open for people who can’t get a place in an alternative care home, why can’t it remain open for everyone?

If, following consultation, a decision is made to close any home, our primary focus would be to ensure that people were supported to find and move to appropriate alternative accommodation of their choice.

While we would not want to put a predetermined time limit on how long an individual could remain in the home that was being closed while an alternative was sought, we recognise that the period could not be open-ended, not least because we would need to manage the impact on an individual’s emotional health and wellbeing that would be caused by living in a large residential care home environment either on their own or in a significantly smaller group as well as recognise that the service would at some point become unserviceable as increasing numbers of staff moved on to new jobs.

What happens if a resident moves and doesn’t like their new accommodation?

All care home placements are reviewed on a regular basis and a review can be requested by residents and their families at any time.

There are 113 people that would not be able to be housed in a county council care home. How are you going to house those 113 people?

We will need to ensure there is sufficient alternative provision before people are required to move.

Have you sought a second opinion on the cost of work?

We commissioned a well-respected, independent company called Faithful and Gould to carry out the original surveys on all of our older care homes and we are confident that the figures, which are based on a visual inspection, are accurate and up-to-date.

These estimates for the cost of work have been included as guidance for the council in order to assist in decision-making to plan for the best way forward.

However they are estimates only and the actual costs where homes are being refurbished may vary from those estimates.

How has the county council managed to squirrel away £30m? Is this through underspends?

The council has set aside £30m to support the programme of work described in the Cabinet report. This is comprised of previous underspend in the adult care budget from previous financial years and capital funding from reserves.

Why has the council stopped admissions to the homes?

We remain concerned about the need for comprehensive rewiring and the potential risk of a fire or failure of the electrical system. As this might lead to the need to evacuate the building at short notice there has been a temporary pause in permanent admissions to the homes which require rewiring to ensure everyone’s safety.

Why is the council currently spending money on things like new fencing, doors, windows, furniture and carpets in homes where the proposal is to close?

No decision has been made about the future of any of the homes. We are currently asking Derbyshire residents for their views which will be taken into consideration in a further report to Cabinet. In the meantime, we have a duty to ensure that essential works are carried out, particularly if these have an element of health and safety.

Why has the council changed its position on its promise to build more care homes?

The council remains committed to providing high-quality care in buildings fit for the 21st century. Our new £10m care centre, incorporating a library, in Belper which has been designed to the latest dementia-friendly specification to care for older people with increasingly complex needs is due to open soon. We have also been granted planning permission for a second new care home in Cotmanhay.

What will happen to the community support beds that you provide for the NHS in your care homes proposed for closure or refurbishment?

If, following the consultation and a further report to Cabinet, a decision is taken to go ahead with the proposals we would of course continue to work with the NHS to find suitable alternatives should this be necessary.