Fears mount in care home row
ELDERLY residents in North Somerset could be forced to move out of care homes as business owners prepare to wage war with the council over fees.
More than a dozen care homes in the district are involved in the multi-million pound funding dispute with North Somerset Council. Owners claim they are not receiving enough money to cover their costs, but the council says its offers are fair and higher than those from neighbouring authorities.
The two parties are set to collide at an arbitration hearing in September - the results of which, care home owners claim, could result in hundreds of residents being relocated.
Gordon Butcher, owner of Lyndhurst Park Nursing Home in Weston, said: “We have been reading a document submitted by the council’s lead officer who clearly stated his belief that if the arbitrator decides in favour of the homes, the authority would have no option but to consider moving those council-funded residents. Potentially, somewhere between about 180 and 400 residents would be relocated.
“Not only is the process of relocating frail, elderly people one fraught with risks to their health and well-being, it is also traumatic for them to find themselves shunted about.”
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The home owners want a 12 per cent rise in funding, but say they would be keen to return to the negotiation table again to avoid the arbitration hearing’s high legal costs and risks.
It comes after the group refused an initial offer from North Somerset Council for 3.6 per cent for two star homes and 4.36 per cent for three star homes.
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The news follows continued fears about the future of two Southern Cross-owned homes in the area. Laurel Court, in Nailsea, and Haven Lodge, in Portishead, face uncertainty after it was announced the operator will be shut down because of drops in council funding nationwide.