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Care home closure planned

More than a dozen elderly residents of a care home who require 24-hour care could be uprooted from Thatcham to either Newbury and even Kintbury under proposals being consulted by West Berkshire Council.

Residents of the Walnut Close Care Home in Thatcham face being moved by January 2021 if plans to close the 50-year-old facility get the go-ahead.

According to the Council Walnut Close Care Home is currently half full and is running at a loss. A number of rooms are also currently closed due to issues with hazardous flooring.

A statement by West Berkshire Council reads: “Although we recognise that the idea of moving to another care home might be unsettling for some residents and their families, we believe that undertaking such a move at the present time would impact the fewest possible number of residents as only 18 of the 35 rooms at the home are occupied.

“Whilst this does not negate the impact such a move would have on the current residents, it will allow care home and adult social care staff more time to spend with individual residents and their families, in order to ensure they are fully supported and have their move managed sensitively and carefully.”

It goes on to say: “It is anticipated that some of the residents, their families and staff will have concerns about the negative effect the closure may have on the close relationships they have developed within Walnut Close Care Home. It is our intention that the majority of the residents would be moved to our other homes in groups, along with familiar staff, and we believe this would reduce the impact of the move and address this concern.

“Redundancies are not anticipated as it is hoped staff will be redeployed to our other care homes. At Birchwood, we currently have one area of the home which caters for ten residents and is currently empty, and we would hope to staff this with the current regular Walnut Close Care Home staff. There are considerable recruitment issues in the care home industry across the UK and this is no different in West Berkshire. By retaining our permanent staff we would reduce our reliance on expensive agency staff, and ensure consistency and quality of care for residents.”

A decision is likely in November with people invited to have their say via a survey before Sunday 4 October.

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