Kirklees' dementia care homes in Heckmondwike and Newsome could be transferred to independent sector as running costs exceed £4.9m

Now that Kirklees’ two dementia care homes have been saved from the council’s axe following an impassioned community campaign, the local authority is considering how they will be operated in future.
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Kirklees Council wants to explore the option of transferring the homes at Claremont House, Heckmondwike, and Castle Grange in Newsome to the independent sector following a consultation with stakeholders.

Before progressing with this plan, approval will be sought from the council’s cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

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The decision to seek a transfer comes as a bid to contribute savings to the council’s £47m budget deficit.

Claremont House, HeckmondwikeClaremont House, Heckmondwike
Claremont House, Heckmondwike

Should the council be unsuccessful in transferring the homes, it will continue to be the operator of the sites.

According to a council report, the homes are currently operating with a 46.25 per cent occupancy rate, with just 37 of the total 80 beds across the two sites being used by residents.

However, the report states that the occupancy rate results in “little variance” in the operating costs of the homes, with the combined costs for 2023/24 exceeding £4.9m.

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Based on the council’s calculations, a saving of approximately £1.35m would be made if the council was funding 80 beds at homes in the independent sector.

Castle Grange, Newsome. Photo: GoogleCastle Grange, Newsome. Photo: Google
Castle Grange, Newsome. Photo: Google

This is based off the weekly costs of a bed at the two council-run homes being £1,180, compared to the average rate of £852.69 per week for a bed in an independent sector home in Kirklees.

At the same meeting, councillors will also review the outcome of the 12-week-long non-statutory consultation with staff, service users, families and other stakeholders who gave their views on the council’s proposals.

Coun Jackie Ramsay, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “We are facing increasing demands for and costs of social care and must look at how we can make the best of the limited resources available to us.

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"There has been a lack of sustainable, long-term funding for social care from government which means, like other councils, we are now having to make some tough decisions.

“We heard a wide range of views during the consultation process with stakeholders.

"We will now start to fill the available beds in both homes whilst continuing to explore options with independent sector providers for a transfer.”