Relatives of Northamptonshire care home residents say closure plans are causing anxiety

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Relatives of people living in Olympus Care Homes in Northamptonshire say the county council is “putting its budget before care” with proposals to close two as part of £77 million cuts to public services.

It has now been a fortnight since Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to slash spending in the 2016/17 year to cope with huge budgetary pressures.

As part of the measures, the authority has proposed to close two of the six care homes in the county run by the arms-length management organisation Olympus, in a bid to save £2 million.

But in a document obtained by the Chronicle & Echo, consultees responding to the planned closures have spoken of their anxiety.

One person, speaking about a female relative in an Olympus home said: “I am very worried her money will run out, and she will be moved from the good home she is in, to a poorly run one paid for by social services, as a move would kill her and with several mental and physical problems she will never be able to go home.”

Another man the Chron spoke to, whose elderly relatives is at one of the six Olympus homes in the county said the announcement has created a great deal of anxiety.

“We want to know which ones they plan to close,” he said. “Obviously the more we know the better.

“If you ask me they shouldn’t have made it public that they were going to close two homes because now we are all left worrying.”

The county council has suggested there is no longer the same need for care homes in the county as many older people would rather receive care at home.

But the relative of a care home resident told the Chron: “At the end of the day they have put their budget before care. There is a need for these care homes in the county, but you watch, when they come to closing them they will say that they were not ‘fit for purpose’.”

Chief executive of Olympus Care, Fiona Seymour, said: “We have no further details at this stage of the Northamptonshire County Council#s firm proposals, but are fully confident that any consultation by the council would have to follow due process, which includes a two-part consultation with all interested parties, including residents, relatives and staff.

“We will be contributing to this consultation and, in the meantime, our priority is to support residents, their families and staff in order to avoid any undue anxiety.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “It is proposed that two Olympus Care Services care homes will be decommissioned as part of the county council’s budget proposals for 2016/2017.

“A review of Olympus Care Services is currently taking place, but it is not yet known which homes these will be.

“The review is to ensure the provision of suitable bed-based social care for older people is available. Currently, the open market can provide these care home places more affordably.”