Social care chiefs say they are working hard to boost care home provision for older people in Hartlepool.
Representatives from the clinical commissioning group, Hartlepool Borough Council and Care Quality Commission attended a special meeting yesterday to answer concerns about capacity in town.
It is a really difficult situation that we don’t underestimateKaren Hawkins, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG
The council’s Adult Services Committee is particularly concerned about the lack of available nursing beds in town. There are four nursing beds free in Hartlepool.
Yesterday’s meeting heard bed numbers have been hit by the closures in Hartlepool of Ascot Nursing Home last year and Admiral Court this year.
A further two homes that provide nursing care have also put a block on accepting new residents, known as moratorium. There is also a national shortage of nurses that is being felt in town.
Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions nursing beds, said it was doing an “enormous” amount of work with the council, hospital trust and Care Quality Commission to manage demand.
Karen Hawkins, CCG Associate Director of Commissioning and Delivery, said: “We are working with providers to encourage them to stay in the sector.
“It is a really difficult situation that we don’t underestimate. We have been working very hard over the last six to eight months to ensure we sustain what we have got.”
Action taken by the CCG have included forecasting future demand, providing enhanced GP support in care homes and establishing a new North of Tees Care Homes Commissioning Group.
David Granath, director of the Hospital of God, which runs Stitchell House Nursing Home in Greatham, said it would provide an extra four nursing beds soon.
Councillor Stephen Thomas, who also works for Healthwatch Hartlepool, said: “Unless something happens at national level the disparity between the need and the resource is just going to get wider and wider and people – old, vulnerable people will suffer.”