St Albans care home set to close

A 54-BED residential care home is set to close in St Albans and the site to be sold off.

Jane Campbell House in Waverley Road has been recommended for closure by a county council cabinet panel for two reasons – they maintain it is incapable of being upgraded to modern accommodation standards at reasonable costs and the home is no longer economically viable.

Quantum Care has a 15-year contract with the county council for the purchase of care and accommodation services for older people and also an option agreement for the development of new residential care places by way of extensions to existing homes or construction of new homes.

The care company says that demand and expectations for high specification rooms, including en-suite facilities, is increasing. Jane Campbell House, which only has shared bathrooms and kitchens, is no longer meeting people’s expectations and is running at a financial loss.

The plan is for an additional 20 places to be provided in extensions to Fosse House in St Albans and Willow Court in Harpenden with the shortfall met by available space in other local residential care homes.

But Lib Dems have accused the Conservative administration at the county council of failing to consult properly on the planned closure of the residential home which has an occupancy rate approaching 100 per cent and say it also has worrying implications for other care homes in Hertfordshire.

Lib Dem county councillor Allan Witherick, whose St Albans North division includes Jane Campbell House, said: “Elderly residents and their careers have had next to no notice about the plans. The first they knew about this was on January 16, when carers were ‘consulted’ on the plans.

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“The Conservative administration will be voting on the plans on February 20. That’s not a consultation – effectively, the meeting was advising people what was going to happen.”

He went on: “I’ve heard that a number of carers moved their relatives into Jane Campbell House from homes with en suite accommodation.

“I was told this was because it provided a better level of care, so I have to question why more time hasn’t been spent engaging with the families concerned – the Conservatives must have known the home was at risk of closure for some time!’

Ron Tindall, the Herts Lib Dem Group’s health and adult care spokesperson, added: “Meaningful and caring consultation with all concerned – including relatives and carers – is the key to a successful transfer of our vulnerable residents and should be a permanent stage in any process.”

The Lib Dems fear that the planned closure will not be an isolated issue and eventually it could affect other homes across the county.