Shortage of Care Beds


Carers from Macclesfield were understandably angry when a review of respite
care that was due to be discussed at a Health and Adult Social Care Overview
and Scrutiny Committee was abruptly cancelled by Cheshire East Council. The
review had been promised to carers at a scrutiny committee on 29 April. The
review is now due to be discussed at a meeting in November.

When Cheshire East Council closed Hollins View and Lincoln House, the
Conservative leader of the Council, Michael Jones, promised that quality
respite care beds would be available throughout Cheshire East. The truth has
been very different, with residents being allocated places at Weston Park
Nursing Home in Macclesfield which has only once managed to meet the
requirements of the CQC in the past five years. The latest CQC inspection in
August said that it 'required improvement'. Weston Park failed in every area
of inspection and has since changed ownership.

Not only are residents now having to put up with lower quality respite care,
but the shortage of beds is also causing concern. Both Hollins View and
Lincoln House had been used for Intermediate Care, helping to keep patients
who are not well enough to go home but not poorly enough to be in hospital,
out of acute hospital beds. There is a shortage of care beds in eastern
Cheshire, resulting in delayed discharge of patients from hospitals;
patients who are ready to leave hospital but have nowhere to go, so stay in
hospital beds longer than is necessary.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Labour Spokesperson on Health and Adult Social Care
said, "Despite pleas from carers and members of the Labour Group, Cheshire
East Council chose to go ahead with closing a tried and trusted resource
which had a high level of customer satisfaction. The problems caused by the
closure of Hollins View and Lincoln House were predicted at the time, but
the Conservatives pressed ahead with their ideological plans to close
council-run services and promote private health care."

Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, "There is a crisis
in the private care sector, reported nationally. Because of the low payments
for contract beds paid by local authorities to care home owners, the homes
are not viable. The number of care homes closing is increasing with dreadful
consequences for older people and their families. Locally, the short-sighted
closure by Cheshire East Council of Lincoln House and Hollins View, respite
homes that provided excellent care, has not helped."

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