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Cabinet considers Elderly care provision for York

Elderly hands

12:01am 15th May 2012

City of York Council's Cabinet will consider plans for the future use of a key city centre site today (15th May 2012).

A number of voluntary, health and educational groups have expressed an interest in the site of the former Oliver House Elderly Persons' Home, which closed at the end of March as part of a wider review of elderly persons' care in the city. The site is an essential part of the funding plans to upgrade residential care for older people.

Cabinet will consider four potential uses of the site:
a.    As a Health and Social Care Hub, involving the voluntary sector.
b.    Lease to York St John University (YSJU) for use as Student Accommodation.
c.    Affordable Housing.
d.    Open Market Sale.

The report recommends granting of a 20 year lease to a Voluntary Sector Management Group which would provide city centre health and wellbeing facilities on the site, including an autism centre and a specialist renal facility. The site could also be used by a number of health/wellbeing organisations currently operating from Holgate Villas.

To ensure that the council will be able to fund its broader aims for the future care of older people, the lease of the site will provide income that will be reinvested in care facilities for older people.

The Development

The City of York Council's Cabinet will further consider plans to build new residential care developments on sites at Fordlands and Haxby Hall and a new care village site at Lowfields in Acomb today.

The proposals are part of the council's ambitious long-term vision to provide high quality care to meet the changing needs of the city's aging population, including increased dementia care and an innovative state of the art care village.

Members agreed to plans to close the existing elderly person's homes at Fordlands and Oliver House in January and all the 25 residents and staff have now smoothly  moved to other - mostly council-run - homes in the city.

Detailed financial evaluation of the options available for building and running the two new homes and care village show that the most financially advantageous scenario is for all three sites to be operated by the independent sector. However, 86 per cent of people who responded to last year's citywide public consultation on the future of the council's care homes indicated that they were keen for the council to fund, build and operate the care homes. Just under half said that they would be happy for the council to enter into a partnership to fund, build and operate the care homes.

Taking the results of the consultation into account, together with the financial modelling, the cabinet will consider a recommendation for the council to fund, build and operate the new care home at Fordlands in Fulford and in principle operate the new care home at Haxby Hall, subject to financial circumstances in Autumn 2013 when a final decision for that particular home is required.

However, due to the complexity of building and operating a care village * the Cabinet will be asked to support a recommendation to procure a private partner through a tendering process to fund, build and operate a 'community village for older people' (including 90 care beds) on the Lowfield site in Acomb. The council's own in-house service would be able to compete for this work alongside external providers.

Councillor Tracey Simpson Laing, Cabinet member for Health, Housing and Adult Social Services, City of York Council, said:

"Ensuring that we are able to support the future care requirements of York's ageing population is vitally important and we need to act now so we can meet the changing needs of older people now and in the future.

"We need to balance the views of local residents with the financial and operational implications of our decisions and will be considering all the options carefully, particularly in light of the current financial climate, before we take a final decision on the best way forward for adult care in the city."

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