Beccles residential home faces closure

Vulnerable elderly people’s lives have been “turned upside down” over plans which could see their residential home in Beccles closed, it was claimed this week.

The Dell is one of six care homes in Suffolk that could be forced to close as Suffolk County Council prepares to re-structure its care system.

Last month members of the county council’s cabinet approved proposals to review the operation of council-owned care homes across Suffolk.

The council is to look at all 16 homes it operates across the county and has come up with three options.

These are closing the homes and buying in services from the private sector; selling off all the homes as going concerns or closing six homes and trying to sell off the remaining 10.

The six homes to be considered for early closure are The Dell in Beccles, Lehmann House in Wickham Market, Ixworth Court, in Ixworth, Wade House in Stowmarket, Davers Court in Bury St Edmunds, and Paddock House in Eye.

Some employees of The Dell sent a letter outlining their concerns to Beccles Town Council.

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At a meeting on Tuesday night town councillors agreed to write to the county council to object to the possible closure of The Dell and to request figures behind the decision making process.

The letter, which has been seen by the Journal, says: “At present we feel that the views of those in our care are not being fully considered. These vulnerable people, some of whom are very frail are looking to ourselves for reassurances, which in turn we feel unable to give.

“We are regularly being asked questions such as - ‘Where will we go if the home/day centre closes? Who will look after us? Why do we bother eating, drinking and carrying on if there is no-one to care for us?’”

The letter adds: “We feel the need to bring this to your attention, to offer a voice for the elderly and vulnerable people within our care, those that believed they were settled within The Dell, only for their lives to be turned upside down by Suffolk County Council. They really do feel that no-one cares about them.”

A team from the county council including Colin Noble, the council’s portfolio holder for adult and community services, visited The Dell on Wednesday to discuss the options with staff and residents.

Mr Noble said: “Because of the reports we have received from the Care Quality Commission we know our homes provide a warm, loving environment that provide high standards of care. We would never place anybody in one that was not like that.

“We are going to 16 care homes leaving leaflets, talking to residents, carers and families. There are many ways in which people will have a voice. We are also talking to the market place about each home and talking about what they are looking for and what they want from a home. We have a statutory duty to support people.”

A final decision on the future of the homes will be taken next March once three months of consultations have been completed.