No takers for Care Home contract at Lowfields

Care home site

According to a notice published earlier today, the York Council has received
no suitable tenders for the provision of a care home at its Lowfields site.

The Council has already invested heavily in providing infrastructure,
including roads, at the site. They promised a 30-month building timetable in  response to concerns expressed by residents in 2016 who feared that the nuisance caused by building works could drag on for a decade.

The failure to find a development partner for the care home, together with
delays on the communal housing section, means that there is no end in sight for the development work.

The delay  notice says, ” This item has been withdrawn because, following a tender process, officers have been unable to appoint a developer. Officers need to consult the market and consider the options before the Executive can make a decision”.

According to the Councils Elderly Care programme, which was last discussed in 2018, work on building the care home was due to start next month. Officials at that they said that they were confident on getting a good deal for the site following “soft market” testing. 

Now a delay on the start of building work on the home of over 12 months  seems inevitable.

There have been similar delays at Oakhaven on York Road where work is now over 3 years behind schedule.

Delays also dog the Haxby Hall redevelopment site on the other side of the
City.

Despite the delays in providing new care homes, existing facilities have
been closed. Some like Willow House next to the Bar walls remain empty.

Ironically, the original plan to provide a, mainly private sector funded,
care village on the site of the Lowfield’s school had been developed in 2010 to the point where work was scheduled to start. The scheme was shelved by the incoming Labour Council and 9 years later there is little to show but some “roads to nowhere” and large spoil heaps.

The site is now has little security. It is attracting children who want to play
on the dangerous spoil heaps.

The football pitches have long gone so alternative children’s play facilities
are non existent.

Even the Kingsway multi user games area has been turned into a building
compound for another development..

Lowfields plans in 2016

Work starts on Burnholme elderly persons accommodation

Work has stared on building a new 80 bed care home at the Burnholme site.

When completed, the Council will have the right to fill 25 of the beds

A lot of building work going on at Burnholme

Work is also proceeding on renovating sports facilities on the Burnholme site. A new library complex has already opened.

The care home being built on the Fordlands Road site (by Octopus Health care) will be completed in the summer of 2020. A site for another home has been reserved in the new York Central development.

The progress being made on these sites contrasts with other projects aimed at addressing the needs of the City’s increasing elderly population on the west of the City.

Tenders are only now being sought for the long awaited elderly persons facility on the Lowfields site. Other specialist homes on the west of the City, such as Windsor House and Lincoln Court have already been cleared of their elderly occupants.

One embarrassment for the Council, is the elderly persons home at Oakhaven. Residents were controversially moved from this building 3 years ago.

Despite some temporary uses, the building has remained largely unused ever since.

The Council has not been able to say when work on a replacement will start.

The Council says that it will start building houses at Lowfield this summer. Many will be “shared ownership” although there seems to have been little research done on the size of the market – among those on the waiting list – for this type of tenure.

There is, however, a lot of demand from older people – currently occupying large council and housing association houses – who want to “downsize” to bungalows or flats.

Work has started on constructing the Tudor Road access onto the Lowfields site. A new lay-by has been provided nearby.

While we remain critical of the Councils plan to build on the playing field at Lowfield, it also now seems that they may have got the mix of home types wrong.

There should have been more bungalows.

The issue of the Yorspace” communal housing development – which is not classified as “affordable” – has also still not been resolved.

Back to the drawing board as court rules Fulford care home planning permission invalid?

Plans to replace the Fordland’s care home with a new building – to be run by Octopus Healthcare – have been thrown into confusion after a judge ruled that the planning permission is invalid.

As the existing care home (now empty) had operated on the site for many years, the case revolved around whether the planning committee was correctly advised on the level of unmet demand for care beds in the area.

Officials say there is an estimated shortfall of 663 residential and extra care places for over 75’s by 2020 and a 1,490 shortfall by 2030.

Residents who opposed the new building felt that it was overbearing.

In is rather novel in York for objections to elderly persons accommodation to cause a row. Usually it is specialist student accommodation plans that raise peoples wrath.

The £10 million investment in the site would have provided 64 beds and created 64 full and part time jobs,

It is possible that the applicant may now simply reapply for permission with the correct care bed demand figures being reported to the committee.

However the planning opening date of mid 2019 now seems optimistic.

Oakhaven replacement plans on display this week

Last year, care company Ashley House won a contract from the City of York Council to design, build and operate an “extra care” sheltered housing complex at the site of the old Oakhaven care home on Acomb Road.

Oakhaven site

No planning application for the project – which is running over a year behind schedule – has yet been submitted but according to the Councils web site initial plans are being unveiled this week.

Drawings will be on display at Acomb Explore Library on Front Street from Thursday March 1 to Thursday, March 8.

A public event is also being on Thursday, March 1 from 4pm to 7pm at York Medical Group, 199 Acomb Road, York.

The site has been hit by controversy in recent years with the adjacent police station being threatened with closure. It was initially thought that that site would also be incorporated into the new development.

In addition, the nearby Carlton Tavern pub narrowly avoided an attempt to replace it with a new care home. That controversy is still ongoing.

The expectation for residents will be that a holistic plan for the whole neighbourhood will emerge quickly.

Oakhaven was closed by City of York Council in late 2015, as part of its plan to close authority-run homes which it says are out-of-date, and not up to modern standards.

The new “state-of-the-art” development will provide 56 apartments for older people, and will include a lounge and dining room serving hot meals.

People can also view the proposals or comment online by clicking here or via email  to OakhavenDevelopment@york.gov.uk.

The consultation is only open until 8th March

Haxby Hall care home to be privatised

Councillors will consider the future of Haxby Hall older persons’ home when they meet on Thursday 25 January.

Following a consultation with residents, relatives and staff at Haxby Hall, the council’s Executive will be asked to note the feedback and make a decision on whether to transfer ownership and management of the care home to an independent sector provider, with the aim of securing its future and providing modern, improved facilities.

If the transfer of Haxby Hall is agreed councillors will also be asked to:

  •      Agree to procure a developer to take over Haxby Hall as a going concern with a commitment to delivering improved care facilities on the site.
  •      To dispose of the site of the care home in return for a capital receipt which will reinvested as part of the Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme.
  •      To procure a contract that will allow the council to purchase a specified number of beds at an agreeable rate.

In December 2016, Executive agreed to consult with residents, relatives and families on the option to seek a partner to take over the 49 bed care home, with a commitment to delivering improved care facilities.
(more…)

Officials recommend Carlton Tavern be demolished

Carlton Tavern

Planning officials are recommending that the Carlton Tavern pub on Acomb Road is demolished.

Papers published today in advance of the Planning  committee taking place on 18th October reveal that officials believe that there is no planning reason why the proposal, to replace the building with a new care home, should not be approved.

The content of the papers will come as a blow to dozens of objectors to the plan. The objectors will, however, have an opportunity to register to speak at the meeting before Councillors determine the application.

Councillors are expected to visit the site on the day before the meeting takes place.

York Council care home rated ‘good’

Care and support services at one of City of York Council’s care homes have been rated as ‘good’ by independent inspectors.

Services at Morrell House, which specialises in dementia-care, were inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May. It was described as  good in all areas which included; ‘safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led’ by the team of inspectors, who spoke to residents, relatives and members of staff as part of their visit.

The inspectors highlighted the meaningful caring relationships between staff and the people they supported, and that residents were relaxed and at ease in their surroundings. They also praised some of the team’s innovative dementia care, including the wearing of night clothes on night shifts- to reduce anxiety for people exploring the home overnight, the introduction of telehealth equipment  to reduce hospital admissions, and the plans to use specialist lighting in communal areasto help residents with dementia to differentiate between day and night.
(more…)

Rats in elderly persons accommodation

Some people’s nightmare.

PAY--Glen-Lodge-nursing-home-in-York-where-Pamela-Hudson-75-was-allegedly-bitten-by-a-ratA report in The Press claimed that a rat had bitten an elderly resident living in the Councils Glen Lodge sheltered accommodation. The incident happened in June. The victim was hospitalised and – several months later – died.

A Council official is quoted as saying

“It is with regret that, despite extensive efforts by professional experts, environmental health and independent inspectors, we have been unable to determine the exact circumstances of how Mrs Hudson’s injuries occurred”.

Public confidence is a fragile commodity so we find it surprising that the incident hasn’t apparently been considered though the Councils committee system.

An open and honest approach is all the relatives concerned could reasonably ask.

The Council could remedy the defect by asking for a report to be considered at the meeting of its Adult Social Care scrutiny committee next week, The committee has a light agenda.

Dr Dave Cowan, leader of the wildlife programme at the Food and Environment Research Agency, has analysed previous studies to try to estimate a total rat population.

“Rats are almost completely commensal in Britain, [meaning] they’re associated with human activities. That gives us a start because we only really need to think about how many rats there might be living in close proximity to ourselves.”

“It’s pretty rare that rats are inside our dwellings. Less than half a per cent of dwellings have rats,” he says.

In those cases, “it would be just a couple of rats”.

A better figure to take is the number of dwellings that have rats outside, in the garden or driveway or compost heap and so on, Cowan suggests.

Around 3% of our dwellings have rats present outside. We can come up with a figure of 1.5 million rats in total in Britain in or around our homes.”

The reputation of some of the City’s care facilities have wobbled recently so some reassurance and – if warranted – an apology, would seem to be the least that the Council should offer.

Gale Lane care home slammed by Care Quality Commission

Rated as inadequate and now in “special measures”

South Park care home report

An inspection of the South Park care home took place in August.  It was the first since concerns were raised following an inspection in 2014. Then several breaches of regulations had been found. By August these had mostly been addressed but 6 more issues were discovered.

The care home has had a chequered history

The report can be read here

The report says, “The service was not safe. There were insufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons employed in the service to meet people’s needs. The registered provider had employed a number of agency staff to fill the staff vacancies, but people who used the service said they did not feel safe when these workers were on duty and we observed some unsafe care practices during our inspection”

It goes on to say, “.We found problems with the cleanliness and hygiene within the service. In particular there was a significant and unpleasant odour in three bedrooms, two sluices and a number of bathing facilities on both units”

The full report ca be downloaded from here .

The South Park facility accommodates 80 residents.

South Park has 6 months in which to make “significant improvements” and will be inspected again shortly

Another home, Haisthorpe House on Holgate Road, was also rated as inadequate by Inspectors

South Park (Gale Lane) care home inspection report published

The Care quality Commission has published a worrying report on conditions at a local care home.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded by clicking here
South park

The inspector’s summary reads

We had previously received concerns about the home with regard to staffing levels and the administration of medication. We followed those concerns up as part of our inspection. The home had a high level of staff vacancies this meant that approximately 60% of the current staff were provided by an agency or the providers own staff were completing overtime. We found that this had a major impact on the consistency and quality of care and support people received.

People told us that care was improving and some of the staff were excellent. Others expressed concern and did not feel confident that the care they were receiving was good enough. We saw staff responding to people in a kind and patient manner but we also saw some circumstances which demonstrated a lack of respect for people’s privacy and dignity. Some people had consented to their care and treatment.

However, on Ebor unit, we saw few attempts to offer people choice about the care and support they experienced. Some people were not given a choice of meal and were not supported with dignity. Recording and administering of medication were unsafe which meant people were at risk of not receiving their medication as prescribed.

Information contained in people’s care records was inconsistent; which increased the risk for people not receiving care according to their needs and wishes. Poor auditing and record keeping meant that people’s health and safety was being placed at unnecessary risk of harm.