Council denies nursing home ‘move’ claims

ELDERLY residents living in more than a dozen care homes will be moved by North Somerset Council if it loses a fight to keep funding down, home owners claim.

A group of 13 care home owners involved in legal proceedings with the council to decide future fees has shown a document to the Times’ sister paper, the Weston Mercury, raising fears over residents’ places.

The letter from the council’s barrister to an arbitrator indicates that the authority would move residents it funds to stay in the homes because of a rise in fees, if it lost an upcoming arbitration process.

But this week the council said: “North Somerset Council would like to reassure residents in nursing homes paid for by the council that it is not preparing to move residents.

“We are currently involved in legal proceedings with a group of 13 care homes to decide the future rate of fees.

“We already pay some of the highest fee rates in the South West.”

The response, however, has not convinced care home owners who say they fear for their residents, and businesses.

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The alliance of homes is calling for an increase on the �80 per resident they receive per day for 24-hour nursing care, accommodation and food.

They want a 12 per cent rise in funding, but North Somerset Council has refused the request, saying it already offers some of the highest fees in the region.

Owner of Clevedon Court Residential Care, Peter Allen, said: “We have not wanted to release this to families, but when it got leaked we had to face the backlash from them.

“The document is a threat made to us from the council. It quite clearly states that people would be moved if we won the arbitration hearing.

“We have to take it seriously, because when we win the case what do we do?”

Final preparations for the arbitration hearing by both parties are well under way and formal cases have been submitted.

The hearing, headed by an independent mediator panel, settles disputes between parties and is likely to take place in April.