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Dementia patients moved on as fee crisis closes Torquay care home

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

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A loss-making care home is set to close – the latest victim of a growing crisis over fee levels Devon – forcing 20 vulnerable dementia sufferers into a traumatic move and threatening up to 30 jobs.

The Eclipse Lodge is the second home to shut in Torquay this year, following a bitter dispute between Torbay Council and the home owners, who say fees are inadequate.

Paul Ewer, whose company Crocus Care has run the facility for 11 years, said he took the decision to close on March 8 with a "heavy heart" and is concerned about the implications for his clients.

He added: "There is a risk in moving them – they are settled and it can upset them so much – that's why it has taken me so long to come to this decision.

"Their mental faculties mean that from day to day they don't understand what's happening so when they move to new accommodation they can go downhill."

A group of owners has been pressing both Torbay and Devon County Council to up its fees to a viable level, including resorting to High Court action.

Mr Ewer told the Western Morning News he had been waiting for the result of Torbay council's fees review, which was approved just over a week ago.

But the new rates – £555 per week for nursing care and £409 for residential care – were not considered enough to turn around the ailing business, which has been losing money for two years and, despite a healthy 92% occupancy rate, was forecast by an independent report to run at a loss of £6,000 per year in future.

Mr Ewer, who runs another three homes, all of them profitable, says at least an extra £50 per week in fees was required to move into the black and around £100 to make the business profitable.

He said the council decision, combined with pressure from the bank, which ordered that the business either be closed or sold, has forced his hand.

"I have had no choice, I have been cross-financing this from other homes but I am not a charity," he added.

"Costs are up, profits are squeezed and I have had to look at the big picture – if I fund this too heavily I could bring the rest down."

Mr Ewer says other homes will follow, predicting an hitherto-unseen "level of attrition" in the sector.

Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, which operates homes for the council, said it would support clients and families, "taking into account at every step" their personal needs.

A spokesman said it had "worked very closely" with local providers to identify "appropriate and sustainable fee levels".

"The development of this new fees structure will obviously affect individual homes in different ways, but has the long-term safety, comfort and wellbeing of clients as its highest priority."

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13 comments

  • nickthompson  |  February 17 2013, 9:22AM

    EdnaFruitcake or nutty as: And yet another rabid rant from a Tory who is very happy with the way our elderly,sick,and disabled are being stuffed by the muti millionaires she voted for,as you have plenty of spare time on your hands,why not join me,and other's who at present seek out elderly or disabled folk in the locality and help by shopping for them,or doing other chores,or perhaps helping out in one of the many soup kitchens springing up,not only in the Southwest,but accross the remainder of your Tory Britain.

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  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 17 2013, 8:05AM

    We've heard this pseudo revolution stuff for years, most people grow out of it when they realise an education is what they need. Sitting on your backside doing nothing is never going to get you anywhere. Still comrade, come the revolution, ha, it sounds funnier with each passing year.

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  • nickthompson  |  February 16 2013, 10:50PM

    EdnaFruitcake: Who said anything about Labour,prior to the lot we have in at present,we were subjected to 13 years of Tory policies being handed to us by a pseudo Tory party masquarding as New Labour,don't take my word for it,read Hansard which proves that a day rarley passed when the real Tory front bench didn't complain about all their ideas being adopted by New Labour,the very reason why for 13 years we witnessed the gap between rich and poor widen,why we saw our elderly dying from cold,unable to pay to heat their homes,whist those at the top on six figure salarys took million bonuses, and why they did nothing to reverse the disaster of privatisations of the Gas,Electricity,and Water cpmpanies, etc,etc,etc, I could carry on,but won't,one day ( i predict in the not to distant future, the population of this island will make a stand against greed).

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  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 16 2013, 10:11PM

    The 'nasty' party, yes we've all heard that Labour joke. Don't forget that nice Gordon Brown who put up the 10% tax rate to 25%. He coudn't even be honest about it and annouced it as he was 'abolishing the 10% tax rate' in his budget speech. If you are waiting for the 'nice' party to come along you will be waiting a long time. Of course the Lib Dems promised they would be the nice party, they even signed written pledges about how nice they were going to be! Now we all know what a Lib Dem written pledge is worth.

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  • nickthompson  |  February 16 2013, 9:52PM

    Our government had a choice,either give councils a little extra to help look after their elderly,or give millionaires a £100,000 a year tax rebate,no prizes for guessing what the nasty party chose. All in it together,I think not.

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  • Free2opine  |  February 16 2013, 2:04PM

    As I said......we are still sending foreign aid to all and sundry and Mr Cameron doesn't seem to want to stop. I find it strange that some of this aid is supposed to be spent on dealing with corrupt governments. Pity somebody doesn't apply the same logic to the corrupt EU politicians. A good proportion of what we pay to the EU is for propping up countries whose population is living in poverty so we are in effect paying a double whammy to all and sundry, whilst all around us our population of OAP's are having to suffer.

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  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 16 2013, 1:38PM

    We were, up until last year (and probably still are) providing foreign aid for world economic super powers (Brazil already mentioned) India and China. These rapidly growing world economies and economic powers were receiving aid from us, a country that can't afford to look after it's aging population. What was right for the world in 1970 doesn't make it right for the world now. Similarily, what was right for us in 1922 doesn't make it right for us now.

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  • Free2opine  |  February 16 2013, 12:58PM

    Just to set you straight. Foreign aid was agreed between the UN and the countries within the UN in 1970, Mr Heath's turn in office. They set a commitment then and appear not to want to stray from the path. he UK: Foreign Aid and Political Pressures January 19, 2012 by Clare Feikert-Ahalt While there is no specific statutory definition, there has been much discussion on what the term "poverty" includes. The UK does not interpret it as encompassing the condition of poverty alone, but also as including the underlying causes of poverty, such as conflict, economic difficulties, and corruption. Thus, under the Act, the Secretary of State may provide assistance that is "preparatory to, or will facilitate the provision of, assistance" permitted under the Act, such as commissioning research intended to provide insight into ways to reduce poverty. However I am in agreement that some of this "aid" is now being used for diverse things such as the Olympics in Brazil amongst others. I don't agree with foreign aid as it stands, especially as some of the so called "poorer" countries are not using the money for what it is meant for.

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  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 16 2013, 11:57AM

    And who are the biggest supporters of foreign aid, yes those middle class left wing liberals who see living on free money as righteous, those who live on free money and see foreign news as the most important, those who you are paying for to have a reporter in every country that ends in a 'stan'. Yes it's the BBC. End foreign aid and the license fee now and suport you aging population, not the whims of the middle class.

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  • cresswell1  |  February 16 2013, 10:54AM

    Foreign aid is more important than the elderly, ask Cameron and clegg

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