34 care home staff face uncertain future after Durham County Council decision to close buildings


CARE home staff face an uncertain future after council bosses approved plans to close the home.

Durham County Council’s cabinet members met this week and approved a recommendation to close Grampian House Care Home, in Grampian Drive, Peterlee, as well as four others elsewhere across the county.

The Grampian Drive-based home has 24 full-time staff as well as 10 temporary workers, and following the council decision, meetings will now take place to determine whether the staff are reloacted in similar roles elsewhere or made redundant.

The Peterlee home has one permanent resident, 14 immediate care residents and nine people who use day services, and civic chiefs have moved to assure them and their families that their care will be not be compromised by Wednesday’s decision.

They say work will now begin to develop a robust and detailed plan for the relocation of residents, with their needs, comfort and safety at the heart of the process.

A dedicated group will work with each resident and their family to draw up a detailed plan. Numerous protests were sparked when plans of the closures were made public late last year.

A consultation took place with residents and their families, carers, staff, trade unions, elected members and other stakeholders.

But council chiefs said the approval of the homes’ closure came after a number of factors, including the desire for people to stay in their own homes for longer, a fall in demand for residential care places, the need for significant investment in the five properties, and the availability of suitable, lower cost accommodation in the independent sector.

A report to the cabinet meeting where the closure decision was made says it cost £1,329.37 per bed each week to run the Peterlee facility, and that it was at 86.7 per cent occupancy.

According to the report, which states the issue was “highly emotive”, Grampian House has the least residential accommodation of the five, but houses the multi-disciplinary intermediate care team on behalf of the Durham, Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group and hosts therapy and rehabilitation sessions.

It also has a day care service.

Trimdon and Thornley Councillor Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for safer and healthier communities, said: “This was an extremely difficult decision for everyone and I would like to assure people that we have considered all of the feedback we received and all of the options available. There is no denying that people feel very strongly and we fully understand this.”