Council-run care homes in Bishop’s Waltham and Denmead will be closed down despite worried family members saying it will reduce the life expectancy of their loved ones.
Bishops Waltham House, Green Meadows in Denmead, and Solent Mead in Lymington are among ten which are being closed in the coming months after Hampshire County Council made its final decision.
As a result, no new residents will be admitted to Bishops Waltham House, Green Meadows, Solent Mead, Emsworth House, Oakridge House in Basingstoke or Ticehurst in Aldershot starting February 8th.
The £173 million plan to ‘transform and expand the future of nursing and specialist care accommodation’ over the next five to six years will finally go ahead after the county council takes the ultimate decision to close the residential and nursing homes despite residents’ and families’ opposition.
A total of 10 residential and nursing care homes will be closed under the new plans. Some of them with an immediate closure, like Cranleigh Paddock in Lyndhurst and Copper Beeches in Andover, which were temporarily closed at the end of November 2021 due to ‘operational resilience reasons’.
Others will close in 2025 or until new proposals are defined.
Malmesbury Lawn in Leigh Park will be closed once a proposed new care home at Oak Park opens and Westholme in Winchester will be closed once a proposed new care home at Cornerways opens.
The council said the project, which will see three new homes built and major works to another three, will increase the overall number of local authority beds from just over 900 to around 1,000.
However, the public consultation carried out in September for 10 weeks showed strong opposition to the proposed closure of Bishops Waltham House, Green Meadows, and Solent Mead.
At the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee in January, relatives urged the council not to close the houses and to look at the impact on lives and the needs of every one of the 77 residents across Hampshire.
Anita Barry, daughter of an 86-year-old resident of Bishop Waltham with dementia, said that her mum wanted to stay where she is, which is her home.
“Moving residents from another home can only reduce their life expectancy for people like my mum,” she said.
“How would you feel if your relative faced the situation?”
However, the decision has been made, and the residents will be relocated.
The county council said that residents affected by the closure will have a dedicated social care professional assigned to their care who will be able to help guide residents and their families through the process.
Executive lead member for adult social care and public health, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, said that despite the council being “extremely proud“ of its care homes and the quality of care provided, the buildings are “far from ideal”.
Cllr Fairhurst said: “Small rooms, limited space for essential equipment, and no ensuite facilities. This is not the way we want to deliver care in the future and why things need to change so that we can offer people support with the maximum dignity possible.”
The executive member confirmed the approval and, by doing so, “acknowledged” the personal impact on residents, families and staff of all care homes, specifically those at Bishop’s Waltham House, Green Meadows and Solent Meade.
She said: “Please be assured that our adult social care service has considerable expertise and experience in working closely with families to support care homes in a considerate, careful and empathetic way.”