Haxby Hall elderly persons home plan hits buffers

Haxby Hall

The Haxby Hall home currently has a total capacity of 49 care beds. Within those 49 beds there is provision for approximately 35 residential care beds, eight beds for people living with dementia and up to six step down/short stay beds which are used interchangeably.

Services at the home are delivered by 51 staff (31.58 full time equivalents). When last inspected by the Care Quality Commission it was given a “good” rating 

It’s a year since the Council decided to pull out of Haxby Hall. The expectation was that a third party would take over the running of an enlarged, modernised home.

A feasibility study conducted in 2016 showed that a care home of up to 70 beds could be delivered on the site. One key issue for development was access to the site, which is constricted by the adjacent ambulance station. The plan for Haxby Hall was agreed by the Council on 7th December 2016.

A well attended supplier engagement event was held on 6 September 2017 to promote the opportunity and receive feedback on the proposal. Residents and their families were also consulted.

12 months later the proposal has been withdrawn from the Councils forward decision making programme. Difficulties in negotiating the new access are blamed for the project being shelved.

In January 2018 the then Director Martin Farren outlined the position

“The future of Haxby Hall is a key part of our Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme which looks to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population by expanding and modernising care provision across the city.

“This report looks at options to safeguard the future of Haxby Hall older persons’ home and procure a provider who will deliver and operate improved, modern care facilities”.

The bids for the takeover were due to be received in September 2018. It was likely that residents would be decanted to other homes while work took place, with the new home scheduled to open in 2020.

No update has been given to any public meeting since then.

The latest delays follow problems at Oakhaven Elderly Persons home which has been empty for two years.

A facility scheduled to be provided at Burnholme is also understood to be delayed.

No detailed planning application has been submitted by the Council for the development of elderly persons facilities at the Lowfields site (although a, much more controversial, commercial housing development did get planning permission there a few months ago)

The Council is also pressing ahead with closing Windsor House which has specialised in providing support for those with dementia

All in all, we think that there is a need for some public reassurances about the timescales which now apply to the Councils Elderly Persons Strategy!

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.
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New ‘Poppyfields’ facility for people with Dementia opens

A new, dedicated facility for people living with Dementia has opened at one of City of York Council’s Older People’s Homes as part of the council’s plans to modernise accommodation for older people.

The new Poppyfields unit at Haxby Hall will provide care for eight older people living with Dementia. The specially designed facility provides a ‘household’ model of care for the residents, where they live together in a small group or ‘household’, and provides easy access to a large secure garden. The facility includes two ‘respite rooms’ to provide short term breaks for people living in their own homes, giving their regular carers the opportunity to have a holiday.

It’s hoped that the new unit will help meet the current need to provide additional specialist dementia support, helping people to maintain their living skills by keeping occupied with simple daily tasks, such as baking, arts and crafts, quizzes and games, as well as ‘meaningful occupations’ such as washing their dishes, all of which can reduce anxiety and agitation.
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All existing York Council Elderly Persons Homes set to close before 2019

£2 million price tag put on Lowfields site – Future of playing fields unclear.

Labours plans to abandon the super care home project mean that 7 existing elderly persons homes will close:

  • Grove House,
  • Haxby Hall,
  • Morrell House,
  • Oakhaven,
  • Windsor House,
  • Willow House and
  • Woolnough House.

All will close by March 2019.  The first will close its doors next year.

The Council expects many of the occupants to move into homes provided by the “independent sector”

Houses will be built on most of the vacated sites.

It is proposed that the Lowfields site be used for the provision of “over 100 new homes” including “downsizing” homes to rent and buy for older people as well as “starter homes to rent and buy so that younger families can get on to the housing ladder”.  

The Council says that a capital receipt of “at least £2m” for the land will also be realised, confirming that any redevelopment will be by the private sector.

Whether the playing fields are included in this purchase price is unclear

Oakhaven

Oakhaven

It is proposed that the “facilities for older people originally envisaged as part of the Community Village on the Lowfields site be, instead, provided at a newly built Extra Care and Health Hub which is expected to replace the Oakhaven OPH on “Front Street” (sic)”.

The Council says it

will be on making best use of the existing stock of Extra Care Housing in the city.  There are five dedicated sheltered housing with ‘extra care’ services in York containing 205 units of accommodation.

Four of these are Council managed schemes – Marjorie Waite Court, Gale Farm Court, Barstow House and Glen Lodge, whilst the fifth (Auden House) is managed by York Housing Association. All homes in these schemes are to rent”.

The Council claims that many of those occupying places in these homes don’t need “extra care” facilities and hints that they may be moved out to make way for those judged to have higher needs!

They say, “We will work with exiting residents to keep disruption to a minimum

The report concludes,

York is also under-supplied with Extra Care Housing given the city’s demographics and the anticipated growth in the numbers of over 75s expected over the next decade.

Analysis suggests that there will be need for 490 units of Extra Care accommodation by 2020, rising to 645 in 2030, based upon nation benchmarks. There is a need for both Extra Care to rent and Extra Care to buy; currently just one third of the provision in York is to buy despite 81% of York’s older residents owning their own home.

The independent sector is beginning to address this need. For example, McCarthy & Stone are currently building 28 new sheltered homes to buy at Smithson Court on Top Lane in Copmanthorpe. Elsewhere in Yorkshire they are beginning to build and provide their Extra Care offer – called Assisted Living – and we would expect that they will continue to provide new accommodation as the market demands”.

With the overcrowding in York NHS hospitals reaching crisis point over the last few months, partly as a result of a lack of availability of the right kind of care places for the elderly in the City, the prospect of another 4 years elapsing before the issues are resolved is deeply worrying.