There were two reports in the June 20 edition of the Sidmouth Herald which are cause for concern.
Firstly, the impending closure of Green Close later this year.
If each bed there costs DCC £1,196 per annum and a bed in the private sector only £433, it beggars the question why are DCC-run care homes so much more expensive?
The closure of Green Close will leave many elderly, vulnerable people without any care and, as Ian Skinner asks, where will they go?
The idea of the premises being changed into a day centre was suggested by Ian – excellent as this idea is – why not take it a step further and make it a centre for assessment, rehabilitation and support so that elderly people who need this type of input can safely live at home, where they want to be.
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At a time when the Department of Health is advocating care in the community, this will be the way forward for the NHS, and could prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.
Secondly, the report about the DCC watchdog questioning health care chiefs on the remodelling of community services is also alarming. Are they seeking to close community (cottage) hospitals? Again, this is a threat to community care which is so needed in this area. We need an expansion of services to keep frail elderly people at home, therefore we need more community (district) nurses and occupational therapists and physiotherapists to give their valuable input.
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Also, respite care for carers is vital, in the area where the patient lives, not miles away. We should never forget that carers need respite care to be provided – especially when caring for someone with dementia.
So much money seems to be wasted in the NHS, with all the bureaucracy and paperwork, surely money should be spent on services for vulnerable people at a time when there will be more need with an ageing population.
I hope the future of much-needed care in the community is not as grim as I fear it is. Surely this is a time for joined-up care to be planned and implemented.
Claire Crouch (retired locality manager for community services in Warwickshire)
RN,RM, District nurse certificate, health visitor