Care home in Beccles could close

The Dell in Beccles 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.

The proposals, which will be discussed by the county council’s cabinet this month, have already drawn criticism from the Suffolk branch of a national union.

Changes to the care system will have to be made as the council bids to slash its budget over the next few years.

The council owns 16 care homes and is considering a number of options, including closing some and transferring the remainder to the independent sector.

The homes that have been earmarked for possible closure are Lehman House in Wickham Market, Ixworth Court in Ixworth, The Dell, Wade House in Stowmarket, Davers Court in Bury St Edmunds and Paddock House in Eye.

Colin Noble, the council’s portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “There is going to be a lot of consideration and discussion put into this.

“There are a number of challenges that will have to be met and we are doing this in the context that more and more elderly people will be living in the county over the next few years.

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“I can understand people’s concerns. However, there are a number of great care homes in the private sector.

“And we are also being told that more want to receive care in their own homes. So we need to look at ways of developing schemes which will give people more control over their own lives.”

The news that the six care homes could close has been criticised by the Suffolk branch of UNISON.

“The effect of this change will be that Suffolk County Council is no longer a care provider and as such will not be able to bail out any failing private care homes,” a union spokesperson said.

“This is a decision which will impact on the most vulnerable residents in Suffolk as the criteria for entry into the homes means that only those with severe physical disabilities or those with advanced dementia are admitted into the homes.

“The privatisation of these services is a shocking indictment on Suffolk County Council and will impact the residents, their carers and staff who work in these establishments.”

The council will hold a consultation on the proposals with a view to making a decision in March next year.