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Care homes in west Wales to have contracts terminated

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FOLLOWING significant concerns with their financial position, two care homes in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire will have their contracts terminated next month.

Residents at Plas Y Bryn Care home in Cwmgwili and Ridgeway Care home in Llawhaden are being supported to find new homes.

Work is continuing between Carmarthenshire County Council (CCC), Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB), Pembrokeshire County Council (PCC), and Care Inspectorate Wales with the companies following concerns about the management of their finances.

Collaboratively, CCC, HDUHB and PCC have been providing financial support to ensure that the care companies can meet their financial obligations and that care is not impacted.

This has included bringing regular payments forward to enable the companies to pay staff salaries.

There have been continued attempts to work with the operators to understand their financial positions, without sufficient information being presented.

As a result, the councils and the health board have had to take the difficult decision to end their contracts with the care companies. The decision has not been taken lightly and we are aware of the significant implications that this will have on people both living and working at the care homes.

A variety of options have been considered, but unfortunately due to the legal and financial circumstances that surround the care companies, including the fact that they have been issued with a court order, there are no viable solutions that the councils or health board can offer at this time.

We would like to recognise and thank the staff within the care homes for their commitment to delivering high quality care and highlight that the quality of care has at no point been a contributing factor to this difficult decision.

Jonathan Griffiths, Director of Social Services at Pembrokeshire County Council said: “We are continuing to work with the care provider to ensure residents at Ridgeway continue to receive the care and support they need.
“We have taken immediate action to support staff and residents at the home and are supporting families to find alternative, suitable accommodation.

“We are very proud of the excellent care the staff have provided and continue to provide to our residents, and greatly appreciate the very positive comments we receive from residents and their families.”

PCC, CCC and HDUHB do not believe that the care companies are able to resolve the issues and that this is likely to have a significant impact on people’s care and support.

In addition, CIW has issued an improvement notice to the care companies with a view to cancel their registration – and closure – should they fail to make the required improvements within a specified timeframe.

Ahead of contracts coming to an end, CCC, HDUHB and PCC will be working with people and their families over coming weeks to find new homes where they can receive the care and support that they require.

Wherever possible, we will do our best to ensure that people are supported to move to locations of their choosing, but are aware that this may not always be possible.

Residents are also being provided with access to advocacy services to support them through this difficult time.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-Term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board: “We know that receiving this news will be distressing for people and we are sorry that no other option is available, but we would like to offer reassurance that we will do everything we can to make sure that people are well looked after and are supported to find a new home as soon as possible

“We will also be working with staff to support them to find alternative employment, should they wish to do so.”

Anyone with concerns is asked to contact:
Pembrokeshire County Council – Provider Hub, on 01437 775775 or by e-mail on [email protected]

Community

Wales hurtling towards 10,000 care home bed deficit over next decade

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EXPERTS have warned there will be desperate shortage of 10,000 care home beds in Wales over the next decade.

The alert has been raised specialist business property adviser Christie & Co who say there is a growing need for new, “future proof” care homes to meet the need.

Their prediction comes at a time when demand is spiralling upwards, with the over 85 population set to double over the next 20 years.

According to sector champions Care Forum Wales (CFW) the “alarming figures” illustrated the need for social care to be funded properly for existing homes to survive and encourage the development of new ones.

CFW warned that Wales was “sleepwalking into disaster” because the growing shortage of care home beds would pile pressure on the beleaguered NHS when hospitals were already virtually at breaking point.

Building new care homes is a costly business as Gwynedd and Flintshire county councils have shown recently.

They have plans to build two new facilities with a total of around 100 beds between them at an estimated cost of more than £250,000 per bed.

If their figures are correct that would mean it would mean it would cost £400 million for the extra beds needed in North Wales and £2.5 billion for the whole of Wales over the next 10 years.

Worryingly, Christie & Co also revealed in the report  that 40 elderly care homes in Wales closed and only four opened between 2020 and 2023 – with no new ones in North Wales.

Among the closures in North Wales were Trewythen Hall in Gresford, Bay Court in Kinmel Bay, Gwastad Hall in Cefn y Bedd and Morfa Newydd in Greenfield with the loss of more than 160 beds.

CFW Chair Mario Kreft MBE said: “The report from Christie & Co paints a bleak picture an illustrates how the existing crisis is going to get even worse, creating a double whammy for our overstretched hospitals which have rows of ambulances queuing outside and patients on trolleys in corridors.

“Instead of being able to build more care homes to meet growing demand, we are seeing more and more care home closures.

“The cost of building new care homes and replacing the beds we are losing now is absolutely eye-watering.

“Our public finances in Wales are already under pressure so where is this money coming from?

“The way care homes are funded in Wales is a total postcode lottery with 29 variations on a theme, with most of social care being commissioned by the 22 local authorities and seven health boards.

“Within that there is a gaping North-South divide with five of the six county councils in North Wales paying the lowest fees, arrived at by a fee-fixing cartel known as the North Wales Regional Fees Group.

“The one shining exception is Conwy Council where earlier this year announced inflation-busting plans to increase fees by up to 20% after warnings that care homes were at risk of financial meltdown and closure.

“Following a long-running campaign by Care Forum Wales they have introduced fairer fees which reflect the actual cost of providing care for vulnerable people in privately run homes, including those with dementia.

“That came about because Conwy broke away from the North Wales Regional Fees Group and took our advice by  commissioning leading healthcare economists Laing & Buisson to analyse the true costs of care providers for the current year.

“It’s and internationally recognised tool to ensure that and those living and working in care homes can receive the best care, while at the same time, ensuring that the

“This is something we have been calling for over many years. All we want is fairness in line with the Welsh Government’s ‘Let’s agree to agree’ guidance.

“The fundamental issue threatening the viability of care homes is the unrealistically low fees that the vast majority of councils and health boards pay, fees that come nowhere near covering the true cost of providing care.

“Economically, it would make a lot more sense to ensure the financial security of our existing care homes instead of just relying on the forlorn hope that somebody is going to magically build enough new ones to  meet current needs and the increasing demands for social care.

“We’ve had a generation of injustice and it’s a generation where the institutional prejudice and discrimination against the private care sector in Wales has meant that those living and working in these fantastic community assets have not been valued.

“The problems we have in social care lead to the pressures in the NHS which lead of course then to extra costs being placed on the NHS which would largely be alleviated if local authorities had a more enlightened approach to social care.

“If Conwy can do it, the other five local authorities in North Wales can and should do it and of course, the money has always been there. It’s how you politically choose to spend it.

“Across the famous Foryd Bridge, which links Kinmel Bay and Rhyl, Denbighshire County Council is budgeting announced  much smaller increases of around 8% on rock bottom fees which have been immediately wiped out by inflation and the cost of living crisis.

“The vastly differing rates mean that Denbighshire will be paying £9,224 a year less per person than Conwy towards the cost of giving exactly the same level of nursing care to residents.

“It is simply an outrage. It’s an affront to the families that that bridge spanning the mouth of the River Clwyd can mean such a massive difference for vulnerable people, including those with dementia.

“The families of those people, who will often be expected to make up the difference,  need to ask why and quite frankly, it is a bridge too far.

“This is undoubtedly a stealth tax on families and quite frankly, the people making these decisions in those authorities should be utterly ashamed of themselves in the way they are betraying vulnerable people including those with profound dementia and their families.

“What this demonstrates is that there is an urgent need for us to look again at the way social care is funded.

“We need a national approach to eliminate this iniquitous postcode lottery so that the people for whom we provide care and our staff are treated fairly.

”This is too important to be left to local authorities and health boards alone – it has to be driven by the Welsh Government.”

Pictured: Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales

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Community

Tenby park and ride service returns for summer

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THE ANNUAL summer Tenby park and ride service returns from this Saturday, July 20th.

The handy service operated by Pembrokeshire County Council runs between 11am and 6pm every day until Friday September 13th.

Buses operate from The Salterns car park and call at The Green and South Parade.

The bus service is free with customers just needing to pay for parking as normal.

Buses run approximately every 15 minutes (with exception of one 45 minute driver break per day, taken when demand allows).

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Community

Petitions against Pembrokeshire day care centre closures to be discussed

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TWO PETITIONS calling on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close day care centres in Pembroke Dock, Crymych and Narberth are to be heard at County Hall later this week.

The two petitions, on the council’s own e-petitions webpage, drew nearly 3,400 signatures between them.

Earlier this year, senior councillors backed plans to close two of the county’s centres for older adults and those with learning disabilities, Portfield SAC, Haverfordwest, and Avenue SAC, Tenby; service users moving to other centres in the county.

The county council is currently changing care provision for older adults and those with learning disabilities, and fears have been raised recently that Pembroke Dock’s Anchorage day care centre is to close.

A series of engagement events have taken place at The Anchorage recently, outlining the reasons and the options in continued service.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “One young woman who attends ran out of the first meeting sobbing when she was told it was going to close.

“Another, at the second meeting, tried to address the meeting, but was so choked up at the thought of not seeing her friends any more she could hardly speak.”

It now is feared Narberth’s Lee Davies Day Care Centre and Crymych’s Bro Preseli Day Centre could also close, with concerns it is due solely to budgetary reasons.

An e-petition on the council’s own website, by John Llewellyn of Living Memory Group, entitled against the closure of the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres.

The two petitions, which have now both closed, attracted 1,701 and 1,675 signatures respectively.

As they have both met the threshold for debate at council, they will both be heard at the July 18 meeting of full council.

Peter Welsh, in his petition for Pembroke Dock’s The Anchorage, says: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close the Anchorage Social Activity Centre based in Pembroke Dock as part of the council’s reduction in services being imposed following the recent budget approval.”

Mr Llewellyn’s petition for the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres reads: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to Review the closure of the Lee Davies Day Care Centre at Bloomfield’s and the Bro Preseli Day Centre at Crymych.

“Staff at both Day Care Centres were informed in Mid-March that both facilities would be closing due to PCC budget cuts. Both centres are an essential outlet for the well-being of the attendees and their families.”

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