Care home fears in Calderdale as winter pressures approach

Cabinet member for Adults, Health and Social Care Coun Bob Metcalfe
Cabinet member for Adults, Health and Social Care Coun Bob Metcalfe

Concerns continue to grow about the future of some of Calderdale’s care homes as the pressure of winter approaches.

At the Full Calderdale Council, Cabinet member for Adults, Health and Social Care Coun Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Town) reported that issues the council was engaged with included the announced closure of the White Windows Cheshire Home at Sowerby and Four Seasons Healthcare, Britain’s biggest care home operator and which has a complex in Halifax, being put up for sale.

Coun Metcalfe reported the council were continuing to be fully involved with White Windows, which is owned by the Leonard Cheshire Group charity. It was dire news they were considering closing or selling some of their homes.

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“It has also been reported that Four Seasons Health Care, Britain’s biggest care home operator, has now been put up for sale by the US hedge fund H/2 Capital Partners.

“They are in effective control of the group which has complex governance and financial issues with the nominal owner of Four Seasons a private equity vehicle Terra Firma.

“All this a further worrying development as Four Seasons has a care home complex in Halifax and already closed one of its homes. We are closely monitoring this situation,” he said.

Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) told the meeting it was his understanding that the Leonard Cheshire Group was trying to find a buyer for all its homes and White Windows was not closing.

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A report on the latest stage would be useful, he said. Coun Blagbrough also asked what adult social care measures were in place to meet increasing demand this winter.

Coun Metcalfe told councillors the financial stability of some of the other care homes in Calderdale and in the country was “very serious.”

In the case of the Leonard Cheshire Group the council was working with them and with residents, discussions were ongoing and he would report back to the council.

The council would face winter pressures and any additional income help to meet them was welcome.

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Government was more or less advising councils to address specific issues before they arrived and Calderdale was working very closely with its NHS partners in areas including reablement, said Coun Metcalfe.

The situation could be dependent on such things as whether there was a flu outbreak and there was always concern at this stage of the winter season in terms of what kind of pressures the council could face, but it was too early to comment in detail.

“We will be working within our directorate and with our NHS partners making maximum use of any additional funding we get,” he said.

Councillors at the Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board will discuss a report on the resilience of residential and nursing home provision in Calderdale when it meets at Halifax Town Hall next Monday, November 26.

That report is being presented to assure members that older people’s residential and care home provision is able to support current residents and winter pressures in 2018/19, while also focusing on improving standards of care, quality and safety.