Park House Closure An Option, Councillors to Be Told

Park House

Park House

The Council could close Scilly’s only residential care home, Park House, and send residents with the greatest need to the mainland.

Those are some of the options being put forward to councillors at Tuesday’s Community Services meeting.

A report being presented by Senior Adult Social Care Manager Gareth Peters will outline how Park House is under significant financial pressure due to problems recruiting suitable staff.

The Local Authority is expected to have to subsidise the facility by around £290,000 this financial year.

And Mr Peters writes that the current national policy is to provide more care for people in their own homes.

Options being put forward to members include maintaining the status quo, with measures put in place to reduce costs as well as developing a new dementia facility at the hospital.

But the most controversial is likely to be an option to increase the provision of community-based care, but send islanders to mainland care homes if they can no longer remain at home safely.

In his report, Mr Peters acknowledges that there is, “a risk of negative media representation and reputational damage resulting from any proposal ‘to close Park House’; however, this is inevitably one of the options that will need to be considered alongside other alternatives.”

He also says it’s likely to receive, “considerable challenge from the local community.”

He’s recommending putting in place a communications strategy, to engage and consult with residents, their families, the wider public and stakeholders.

Councillors won’t be asked to make a decision on the future of Park House at Tuesday’s meeting, although they will be asked to put in place a package of measures to address the financial problems at the care home.

The proposals include a 70% increase in weekly fees for self-funded residents from the current £534 to £908, or from £644 to £1095 for dementia patients.

The home will also try to reduce costs by sending residents with the highest needs to the mainland. That will allow a reduction in staffing levels.

The changes could save almost £100,000 a year, says the report.

Councillors will discuss the recommendations at the Community Services Committee meeting on Tuesday 16th February. It starts at 9.30am in the Old Wesleyan Chapel and the public are welcome to attend.



63 Responses to Park House Closure An Option, Councillors to Be Told

  1. Peter February 22, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve offered some more “intellectual” comments on this issue a few days ago, but having followed the posts here, I am sickened by what I have read and I want to add:
    People of Scilly, please stand back and look at yourselves. How sick is your economy and how morally bankrupt are your elected leaders if you are having a debate about sending your frail fellow members of the community away from their families? Modern life as experienced in the rest of the UK is increasingly untenable in Scilly. What no one seems to grasp is that this issue is not just about Park House. If that is closed, you will need an army of community carers to help people in their own homes, and with such a sick economy, you are not going to find the workers to do this. Scilly is in big trouble. A community contemplating sending its frail elderly across the sea is a sick community. Yes, I know that contributors are appalled at the proposals, but either you have elected for yourselves a load of morally bankrupt councillors or those councillors have no other choice but to propose a morally bankrupt solution to Scilly’s financial apocalypse.

  2. fran grottick February 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Dear All,
    Fellow Islanders and other friends,
    Please rest assured that I do read carefully all the posts on here. Please see my post of 17th February to see why I do support the options analysis agreed at the Community Services Committee of 16th February.
    I accept that this stance does not find favour with everyone , but let me say again that NO decisions have yet been made.
    It is very understandable that there are strong opinions on this very important issue, and so, although social media can be a useful forum, may I make a plea.
    PLEASE DO WRITE to the Chairman, Councillor Amanda Martin and/or any other Councillor.
    As Officers and Council Members stated at recent meetings and as stated in our Corporate Plan, the Council wishes to engage but needs your views in writing in order
    to be able to take them forward. Community Consultation is pivotal, please do help.
    Feel free to contact me at any time,
    Sincerely, Fran(Community Services Vice Chair)
    422424

  3. Adrian Davis February 22, 2016 at 10:40 am

    REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM

    Whilst thanking you for your valuable contribution in drawing attention to AGE UK ‘s position on the recruitment of care workers I would just like to point out the age old contribution that satire has to politics.

    I have already said that I do not believe that removing vulnerable citizens from their home environment is an option . I was taught that it is a life threatening action and found it to be so in my work.. I also believe that the Human Rights Act supports this position.. To even consider an action that MIGHT shorten lives is unthinkable.

    Does it not follow that for our representatives to even consider giving up residential care in Scilly shows how poorly we are represented?

  4. Jenny February 22, 2016 at 7:32 am

    What a same that a serious social concern of how we care for our most elderly population with dignity is raising comments about eugenics. History is plagued by the lack of humanity inherent in forcing evil ideologies into predetermining and controlling human qualities. Amazing when you think our Neolithic ancestors cared for their sick and infirm relatives. It also begs the question, if we really do value how we care of our elderly, why is it that Age UK, a key player in campaigning for the rights and dignified care of our elderly, believes it is acceptable to offer a job on the islands at zero contract hours and at less than a living wage, an amount which will be illegal after April 1st. Such organizations should act by example, not just in campaigning for the respect of the elderly, but also the employment terms of those who provide that care.

    • Andy Hargreaves February 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Dear Jenny
      I have received the following comments from Nigel Clark, the Chief Executive of Age UK in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, in response to your post.
      Andy Hargreaves, Editor.

      I wanted to respond to the recent comments published on your website by ‘Jenny’ on the 22nd February 2016. ‘Age UK Cornwall has recently advertised a post at £6.91 and this will rise to £7.20 from the 1st April 2016, in line with the National Living Wage which applies to those over the age of 25. The National Minimum Wage for those aged 21-24 is currently £6.70. We have never employed anyone on a wage below the minimum wage, in force at the time of their employment. We are committed to supporting older people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to live independently in their homes for as long as is safely possible, and to access the necessary health and social care support when needed.’
      I trust you are able to include this in your comments page.
      Nigel Clark
      Chief Executive
      Age UK Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

  5. Adrian Davis February 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    I am well past my ‘sell by date’ and the way things are going I can see some merit in the ‘Ethuanization ‘ solution!!!

  6. a local who is not on the council. February 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    No John it does not mean that at all,

    It was a tongue in cheek comment as I am surprised you did not realise.

    There is a basic question that needs to be addressed in my humble opinion which is that the population is expanding at a greater rate than the world will eventually be able to support, though not in our lifetime.

    So in the meantime do we just ignore it and say not our problem ?

  7. John Allsop February 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

    As suggested “decrease the surplus population” do,s this mean ethuanize people 24 hours after they retire and everyone if they are unemployed for two years, as they would also be surplus. Unfortuatly only allowing one child per family won,t have any effect for 50 years.

  8. a local who is not on the council. February 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    We need to decrease the surplus population.

    We also need to copy China and say one child per family which you pay for — time to stop paying child benefit.

    • treasure trove February 20, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      The one child policy was China’s response to too-young a demographic (which erm. is not Scilly’s problem). Then, with increases in longevity, the policy increased the proportion of elderly dependents as there were fewer children to support them. Yet, at the same time, it is hard to argue that the world would not be better without some people. You make the case so well..!

      • Adam Morton, St.Martins February 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        I think the proportion of aged population in Scilly is more a case of them being the only ones that can afford a house and don’t rely on the local economy. This also in turn unbalances local politics/development plans ,etc, to represent their interests. The problem then occurs when there is insufficient industry/housing etc to support a working population with the spin offs of providing care & services as well as maintaining a desirable location complete with sustainable transport links.
        The primary reason for this is the increased cost of our offshore location in build & living costs as well as an uncompetitive base for industry .As long as the situation continues not to be addressed because of short term financial interests , we will steadily lose facilities, population & services! It’s more of a question of providing for the working age people who are not here rather than just the ones we have. I notice community care positions advertised to recruit carers for the elderly to stay at home & provide them with meals etc – good luck with that!!!

  9. Allan Hicks February 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

    IT WOULD BE CHEAPER TO SEND YHE COUNCIL OFFICERS TO THE MAINLAND AND START AGAIN. ( polite version)

    • Henry February 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Actually the ultimate solution to save money is to depopulate the Isles of Scilly. Let’s face it – this community will never be able to balance its own books, unless its inhabitants give up many of the modern-day amenities and infrastructure.

      • On a housing waiting list for 10 years! February 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

        I think you are wrong Henry, we need to increase the working population, the only problem being there isn’t sufficient affordable housing. Too many people here have a council / duchy house and their their own private houses on Scilly. They lett out their own property at a bigger cost than paying council / duchy rent.

        • Henry February 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          You’re right – an increase in housing stock and population is one way out for Scilly, but it would have to be a considerable increase, perhaps from the 2,200 residents today to somewhere in the region of 3,000-3,500. So it’s a choice – depopulate, keep the same population but have continuous financial difficulties, or scale up the population.

  10. John Allsop February 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    If any of these councillors or people who are considering sending seniors to the mainland because they are a cost to the council have parents or grandparent living on the islands i hope they say to their seniors we are now packing you off as i don,t want you anymore because you are a cost to the community. So go where no one knows you. We have closed park house.

    • Linda Badcock February 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Your comment sums up what we feel within our hearts. Far too unemotional for those not completely involved though parentage or marriage to understand the grieve and distress for the loved one and family that would unfold sending our loved ones to what be an alien last resting place. This and abhorrent act to be even considered.

  11. johnstickland February 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    As a part-time outsider (with a huge vested interest in the islands) looking in, I’m totally dismayed by the mere notion that a care facility like Park House could close – and more especially that the elderly and vulnerable could end up being taken to the mainland to see out their days – away from friends, family and ‘their’ islands.

    Whilst working on the islands I have had the honour to see Scillonians and Islanders returning ‘home’ to see their days out – and the smile on their face when they saw the islands for possibly the last time, on their way to the hospital, was priceless – the surety that they would see out their lives on Scilly, not in Treliske shone through the sadness that they knew that they only had days to live. They were home, and as such, could rest easy. They were home – that was all that mattered to them.

    Regrettably, everything from a tin of baked beans to the provision of the Police service to Care for the elderly costs more on the islands – how it is paid for is a separate issue.

    To close Park House and ship elderly residents to the mainland is surely an anathema to any civilised society – and especially so to a proud island race like Scilly.

    Surely any Councillor with a modicum of common sense and decency will heed the words of both Dr Adrian Davis and Dave Badcock in the comments above. Both very wise men in different fields – please don’t ignore their advice and opinion.

    John Stickland

  12. Adrian February 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I sat through the debate on the 16th and came away saddened by the total lack of support for Gordon.so I would now like to make my own feelings clear as well.

    I learned early .in my career that if you move vulnerable people out of their lifelong environment, late in their lives it can be a life threatening event. I have seen it happen and I do not believe that..this is a fact understood by those taking decisions on the future care in this community..
    Vulnerable people should NEVER be moved from their ‘homes’ (and I use this word in the widest sense) unless they are a danger to themselves ,or others.

    Sending people to the Mainland for care will run the risk of shortening their lives.

    it is also a fact that as we age we need variable degrees of support and ideally this can only be delivered by altering the immediate physical surroundings..
    We do not need independent advice to tell us that this.. A co-located (ugh!) facility at the Hospital site is an excellent scheme for long term patients with ,, for example dementia,but there will always be a need , despite Government policy , for a residential facility for the elderly who will inevitably have some medical issues.
    At present we have Park House which is a care HOME. Residents are cared for with their own possessions and family and friends around them.and they have our excellent domiciliary (NHS) Nursing service when required

    During my career I saw how our system worked here , regularly visiting PH on a weekly basis for years,(as well as working during the even better time when Sage House provided Nursing Care.) and i have seen the other side of care in private homes as per Government Policy when doing Meals on Wheels over the recent years.. I make NO criticism of those who have and are providing this service of course but I have personal experience of caring for all four of our Grandparents in our home and have learned to appreciate the strain and pressures this can place on all parties.
    I make no apology for this diatribe as i feel it is an issue on which I am fully qualified to pontificate!!
    I do not think that considering all the options should include reducing essential services.We did not elect our leaders and employ the officers to do that–or did we?
    We may be/ become the only LA supporting a Residential HOME but in our isolation I ,for one, am convinced it is essential fo our community. If money can be found for an Innovation Center surely we can commit to a CARE HOME even f it means starting again?

  13. Jenny February 18, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I do not possess the ability to articulate as well as most of the contributors to this site. This said, my point remains valid, with no criticism intended at the school or care home. This week there have been three important meetings regarding the most vulnerable in our society. The young and the very elderly.
    On the one hand we have a brand new ten million pound educational establishment where it costs twice the national average per child to educate the pupils, Monday to Fridays, up to eight hours a day, thirty nine weeks a year, which also funds lunches for the youngest attendees. The school is having some difficulties which they will be supported to address.
    On the other hand we have a care home for the most vulnerable in our society who spend twenty fours of each day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year living in a building which pre-dates both the new school build and Five islands School.
    The Community Services Committee were informed the building was not fit for purpose, unsafe and too expensive to run. The care costs for people living there are twice the national average per person compared to care homes on the mainland.
    In spite of it being alleged that the building was unfit for purpose and unsafe, an independent inspection of the home showed the staff provide a high standard of care twenty fours hours a day, seven days a week.
    To address this difficulties at the care home a very different approach was proposed to that of the approach to the school- If I recall the proposals were to raise the costs by 75%, send those people with the greatest infirmities to a care home on the mainland and look at the option to close it.
    I questioned the very different approach offered up by senior council officers to address the difficulties of the vulnerable in our society, just because they are at different spectrum’s of the age line. Both services are paid for by taxation.

  14. Mark Prebble February 17, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Some consideration of a move towards a collaborative approach appears to have taken place already as it is included in the proposals put forward in the report to Council.

    http://committees.scilly.gov.uk/documents/g854/Public%20reports%20pack%2016th-Feb-2016%2009.30%20COMMUNITY%20SERVICES%20COMMITTEE.pdf?T=10

  15. Henry February 17, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Some of the comments on here make me realise why Scilly is doomed.

    We have the usual “Scilly is special” and “Scilly doesn’t get enough public funding” – erm, for a population of 2000 Scilly probably gets the highest per capita public funding in England, when all public monies thrown at the place are included, eg from EU grants. Show me a community of 2000 people anywhere in the country that has the size of public sector and public facilities and infrastructure that Scilly does! Then we also get the standard reaction of “get a consultant in!” – yes, because the Council doesn’t spend enough of consultants already. Then we get some pragmatic-at-first sounding ideas about using the hospital etc – if it was so easy it would be done.

    Look, it’s perfectly simple. Things (goods, services, etc) have to be paid for. Or we cut back and can’t have those things. They can be paid for through taxes (and all people do is suggest how to tax other people) or through borrowing (which as I have pointed out is merely higher taxes/less spending in the future, with interest money going to the rich lenders in the meanwhile). This is the truth whether we’re talking about a household, a business, the Isles of Scilly, England, the Western world, whatever. No wonder we’re all in such a mess.

    • Pete February 17, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Henry your talking in riddles

      • Henry February 18, 2016 at 12:14 am

        I know, common sense and the truth are riddles to most these days.

  16. Jenny February 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Why is it acceptable to pay near twice the national average per child for their education in Scilly and it is not fully meeting educational standards. But it unacceptable for the cost of care for elderly residents in a care home to also be nearly twice the national average when their care home is inspected by the Care Quality Commission and is good in all categories. Both have been independently inspected, one is failing and one is not, both cost twice the national average per person or child. Both are funded by local and national tax, unless of course you have over £20,000 then you pay for your care. One is supported to ensure better outcomes for the children, the other is threatened with closure and a massive hike in costs. Discrimination or not.

    • Gordon February 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Let me make my own views abundantly clear. At the meeting of the Community Services Committee on 16 February, I proposed that “removing all residential care facilities from the Islands is not an option to be considered.”
      I simply wanted to squash any doubts and fears that we could end up without vital local residential care facilities.
      Not a single person on the committee voted for my proposal. Some argued that we must consider ALL the options.
      No doubt people will draw their own conclusions.
      The debate can be viewed on the Council’s Youtube website.

      • Gordon Bilsborough February 17, 2016 at 5:56 pm

        Sorry all.
        I inadvertently left my surname off my recent posting.
        Gordon Bilsborough.

    • Stuart Moore February 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Jenny states..Why is it acceptable to pay near twice the national average per child for their education in Scilly and it is not fully meeting educational standards. But it unacceptable for the cost of care for elderly residents in a care home

      Honestly…… because investing in children is investing in the future for the next 70yrs, where as money spent on people at the end of their life will see no return.
      (and before anyone jumps up and down, saying how heartless I am, this is not something I agree with, in fact its something I’ve been having to deal with on a personal level for the last two years; however it IS how a government accountant will cost it. and unfortunately the world is now run by accountants)

      Successive governments have slowly but steadily moved end of life care from the state to the private sector, which is why most of the geriatric wards have closed and people now pay for their own care in the private sector until such time as their estate falls to below £24,360 at which point the state will step in.

      Scilly has been sheltered from the harsh reality’s of the real world and believe it or not, the council is in part responsible for this. Once again the council has limited resources and by law has to live within its means, which means tough and unpopular decisions have to be made. The councillors ‘can’ choose to subsidise park house, but they WILL have to cut something else to pay for it.

      If you feel strongly about this issue, then I suggest you lobby your councillor and email your MP derek.thomas.mp@parliament.uk
      Or do what most people do, which is nothing, except sit back and moan about it.

  17. Jenny February 17, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    A full option analysis by an INDEPENDENT consultant on elder care provision for all the residents living on the 5 islands, not just St Marys, is a a very sensible way forward. The residents should have the confidence that the person commissioned to undertake the analysis is independent and will consult with the people who receive care now, their carers, the public and service providers. Such a very important decision for the future of those who require care can wait the small amount of time it will take to consult. The islanders could possibly get a better outcome because decisions are made based on all available information, not just on some.

  18. Pete February 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Henry. There is a money tree, unfortunately the fruits are scattered around the world. If it was fed properly for a start , by cutting back on tax evasion/avoidance, reintroduce the higher tax rate, investment in Great Britain. And remember charity begins at home.

  19. Peter February 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

    A response to Stuart Moore’s post. Please read to the end, where I will make a constructive suggestion.

    Stuart: I’m guessing from the tone of your post that you are a socialist, or have leanings that way, or at least are anti-Tory. And yet you argue against a socialist position! You say “27% of council tax is being spent on less than 1% of the islands population”. Yes, that’s called socialism: to each according to his/her need! The community supports those of its members who are vulnerable. And it’s the same in every part of the UK: the relatively well-off majority fund the support of the disadvantaged minority. It’s called the welfare state, which I assume you would support. Then you say “the council is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds to keep Park House open”. Spoken like a true Tory! Of course it’s “losing money”! Are you suggesting the council should be making a profit from running Park House? Any council “loses money” every time it provides a service of any kind.

    You write “it makes sense to close Park house and move the residents up to the hospital”. At first glance, this is nonsense, but hear me out. Your argument is that classic game that has been played throughout the UK between social services departments and the NHS for the last 30 years or so. It never works. Social Services (who in the case of Scilly run Park House) try to turn a client’s problems into a health care issue so that the NHS gets the bill, and, guess what, the NHS tries to say it’s “social care” and tries to transfer the client’s care, and the cost thereof, to social services. If you were to move all those Park House residents to the Hospital you would be flying in the face of government policies (both red and blue) of the past 20-30 years, which has decreed that the NHS does not do long-term care any more. There are no NHS “geriatric” (horrible word) hospitals any more. Cornwall and Isles of Scilly NHS would laugh at the suggestion. Many people fail to realise that when the NHS was set up in 1948 it was largely intended to be a service for children: free care for children with the diseases of that time: diptheria, polio, TB, measles etc etc. It was never envisaged that it would end up as a service for chronically ill elderly people who live with disabilities for many years, and it was never costed as such. You say that the Tories are dismantling the NHS. No they are not. They realise that to do so would be a massive vote loser. I suspect they would argue they are trying to undo the profligate spending of the Labour government. As someone who worked in and for the NHS for many years, and who still has professional links with it, I could make many suggestions for saving the NHS money, which neither Tories or Labour would like, but that’s another matter.

    So, to the positive point. There is the germ of an idea in Stuart’s suggestion, which would be a truly practical and perhaps typically Scillonian solution and would put Scilly at the forefront of care practices. If it is indeed the case that the hospital is half empty, then how about a jointly commissioned, jointly funded and jointly staffed care and health service at the hospital? Staff would move seamlessly between health care and social care, the buildings and associated costs (heating, catering etc) would be jointly run and responsibility for care packages would be truly shared between the NHS and social services. This kind of set up has been talked about for many years but never becomes reality. Scilly may be a place where it HAS TO become reality. However, it will take highly skilled cross-organisation management to make this happen and to get beyond the bunker mentality that I have described above. Are Scilly councillors able to rise to this high-level challenge? Central government might even want to fund, and provide managerial input to, such an innovative service as it would tick so many boxes in terms of modern thinking about joined-up care.

    • scillylover February 17, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      Peter makes a pragmatic suggestion that should be seriously considered as one of the council’s options. However, joint working of this kind is easy to talk about but extremely hard to do, and as Peter states, would require the most skilled commissioning and management at council and operational levels. But a local solution has to be found to this local problem that makes the most effective and efficient use of the available resources.

    • Mark Prebble February 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      I have to disagree with your view on the founding priciples of the NHS, the post war years offered the opportunity to implement a service at a time of poor health across the nation not just the young.

      http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/about/Pages/nhscoreprinciples.aspx
      http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/external/bevannhs.mp3
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_National_Health_Service_%28England%29

      • Peter February 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm

        Mark: yes, fair comment. I should have chosen my words more carefully. The NHS at its inception was indeed intended for all, but childhood diseases were more of a concern then than they are now, as infant and child mortality was much greater. The founding fathers could never have envisaged the medical developments which can now routinely keep people alive into their 90s and beyond, nor could they have predicted 2016’s much higher proportion of elderly people compared to the young.

  20. Dave Badcock, (Proud Scillonian) February 17, 2016 at 9:06 am

    If they were to close Park House then they should hold their heads in shame, Looking after Old Folks that have lived here all their lives or for a long period should be a Human Right so you can remain in your own community not carted off to the mainland, It would be heartbreaking not for one of my folks (One of them a Scillonian) but also for their family.
    Perhaps he in charge should take a good look at this because that so said person doesn’t know Island community life too well then and probably will only be here for a few years and then gone.
    There will be outrage if this goes ahead

  21. fran grottick February 17, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Dear Stuart,
    Please do reconsider aspects of your recent post. Money spent supporting those who need that support does not just benefit them, but also their family, friends and , indeed, the wider community(that they have often been a part of all their lives)
    Dr Davis is quite right, how we care for those weak and vulnerable defines who we are as a community.
    I do support a “full options analysis”, we have to show that we are prepared to look at all
    the choices we could make, and when this is done, we will then be able to demonstrate
    with evidence how some paths are not ones that are suitable or would have the support of islanders.
    We also need to look at the wider picture, suitable housing on the old school site (not a
    residential home) could offer an option to those who need to move , including, perhaps from an off-island. It is challenging to find funding but if we can refurbish Porthcressa,then……
    We also need to look carefully at ALL other budget areas, as, indeed, are other Local Authorities, many of whom are beginning to share services. We do this in some areas already.
    I am very happy to chat to anyone who wishes to, let’s all work together, it was good to see so many at the meeting yesterday,
    Best wishes,
    Fran 422424

  22. Stuart Moore February 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    This is an understandably emotive issue, however like everything in today’s profit driven society, it comes down to cost.
    What if I told you that 27% of the ios council tax is spent on Park House, or to put it another way, 27% of council tax is being spent on less than 1% of the islands population.

    On the mainland the cost of care homes is in the £3-5000 per month range, I know this from personal experience.
    Here, the council is losing hundreds of thousands of pounds to keep Park House open.
    Unfortunately the councils proposal is just being realistic and practical in the face of savage cuts in government funding.

    We have a hospital that is practically empty most of the time, so to my mind it makes sense to close Park house and move the residents up to the hospital.
    I assume most people will be horrified with this idea, unfortunately the council have little option.

    Finally if you really are opposed to such things, then I suggest you think very carefully the next time you’re in a voting booth, because the austerity measures that make decisions like this a harsh reality didn’t just happen, they were chosen by the Tory party who are currently busy dismantling the NHS ready for privatisation. If you think the closure of park house is a bad idea, you haven’t seen anything yet!

    If this annoys you, I suggest you email our local MP Derek Thomas, and give him your opinion on the matter. His email address is derek.thomas.mp@parliament.uk

    It doesn’t have to be this way, but all the while people remain silent, the politicians just carry on.

    • Pete February 16, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      Well spoken Stuart, especially about voting. People must stop and think about old age. So next time you are about to write/draw your cross think. If you give a person the right to hold you to ransom. Then from time to time you must be expected to be held to ransom.

    • Henry February 17, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Sorry, Stuart, but one way or another the care has to be paid for, either through council tax, national taxes, fees, whatever. So you don’t think it’s fair for it to be all paid via council tax, fair enough. But then you criticise government cuts..? Where do you think the government gets its money from? Socialists think there’s a magic money tree – the actual answer is a mixture of taxes and borrowing (which is simply greater taxes/reduced spending in the future… and lots of interest paid to the rich in the meanwhile). The third option is of course to charge fees etc.

      If you want the government to pick up the tab then expect higher income tax, VAT, national insurance contributions, etc. One way or another we have to pay for it. It’s nothing to do with “today’s profit-making world” – it’s a simple fact of allocating limited resources.

    • Banshee February 17, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Is right Stuart. People need to stop blaming local authorities and start protesting against central government, what’s happening here is classic Tory manipulation of underfunding public services so that private sector can be seen to ‘save the day’.

      The Isles of Scilly do not get a fair deal in terms of public funding, just look around you, what’s next to disappear? The pool? The library? The gym? And who are these magical private businesses coming in to run them? No going to happen, there’s not enough footfall to support a business model, so they won’t do it.

      We’re going to have a situation where your children will be thrown into the freezing sea to learn to swim, that’s not progressive in 2016, that’s rolling the clock back 40 years. If we take q step back on the pool in 2016, then what other things will send up losing in 2017, in 2018, in 2019? This is the top of the slippery slope and the we will NOT get any reward from government for making these savings, instead we will suffer even more, to the point a community on the islands fails, he’ll, it’s already showing cracks.

      At this rate, by 2025, we will probably be faced with not only sending old people to the mainland but also all children over 11 will be sent to Truro School, and YOU will be expected to pay for your it.

      It’s time the councillors stood up for the islands and protected what little we have. The government need to be told that we ARE special, we DO deserve to be preserved as an island community, and that we are entitled to a fair deal, devolution if you will.

      It’s time our unitary authority status was defended, tooth and nail, and it starts right here with eldercare and the pool. No, they don’t make financial sense on paper, but NONE of what we do makes financial sense on paper, our existence doesn’t make financial sense on paper!

      We need ministerial friends to help preserve our way of life, or we risk losing it forever.

    • Stuart Moore February 17, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Not saying that I agree with it, mearly pointing out the harsh situation that the council has to operate in. Ultimately this will be a decision made by the councillors who will have to decide if they wish to continue subsidising park house to the tune of approx £500,000 pa and if they do, which other service are they going to have to cut in order to do so.

      Unfortunately this is the result of the austerity measures being imposed by central government, who managed to find enough money to bail out the banking system, but at the cost of everything else.

    • Jacque February 17, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Stuart please consider the following with regard to the hospital here on St Marys!

      Should the ambulance service be used as the Buzza bus, or transport for the elderly for shopping etc. when they are not dealing with emergencies?

      Should the lifeboat service be used for inter island transport when they are not required for emergencies at sea?

      Should the police cells be used to provide bed and breakfast or house homeless people when they are not required for the detention of offenders?

      Should the fire service be used for rescuing cats stuck up trees???

      The hospital may not be “full” all the time but if you need post operative recovery time, end of life care, emergency injury treatment, or acute services and general medical care it is available when you need it! There are staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you may be grateful that they were not too busy providing care for the elderly when you have a heart attack, stroke or a burst appendix!

      While no-one is adverse to the amalgamation of some services there would still be similar costs involved to provide the combined services at the standard that they are available now.

  23. maggiemay February 16, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Our Council – one minute talking about converting the school (top of Porthmellon Hill) into a residential home for the elderly and the next discussing the closure of Park House ludicrous. What about looking at the staffing numbers in the Town Hall and making some changes there, there is money to be made and lots of it – the total of staff (some seen walking about town and having coffee in the deli) is rather large to say the least costs could be cut drastically, surely they are not all required. A time and motion study wouldn’t be a bad idea for starters.

  24. John Allsop February 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    1000 per week. How many residents at Park House receive 4000 pension per month so can they pay it.

  25. Adrian Davis February 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    We came to theses islands just as the old Rookery closed and have seen Park House become part of the fabric of theses islands.. Previously working for some years in an isolated rural practice I experienced first hand the effect that moving old folk from their natural home environment had on their longevity.
    As a caring community surely we owe it to those who are in the ‘autumn’ of their lives to care for them in their own environment and close to their family and friends?
    This LA’s corporate plan claims to be, (and I quote)… ‘One team serving our islands with CARE’ and further…’ Aim to better understand our communities and customers (sic!) to deliver services that are appropriate to their needs. ( and it also talks of reducing the number in care by 10%–not whether it is needed or not!) and you do not need medical expertise to understand that there will always be some folk who are in their right minds but need 24 hour support in their last months on this earth .although inevitably, in the light of present medical science , there will be for the foreseeable future a very small number of patients who can only be cared for in a specialised environment.
    It is my view that even to consider reducing our ability to care for the less fortunate amongst us HERE ON THESES ISLES again shows a lack of empathy from those who have the responsibility and power to drive forward future plans.
    Yes …it will cost.. and mistakes MAY have been made but surely the weak and vulnerable must come first?

  26. Terry February 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Unfortunately caring for our old folk is not cheap but essential in a careing community. Weshould never consider shunting them off to the mainland unless for their health reasons. Perhaps we could economise by getig rid of people who give us unwanted advise?.

  27. Peter February 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I did try to warn of this kind of issue on here a couple of years ago. Of course, no-one listens. This is my field of expertise, though I normally contribute as a holidaymaker. And you haven’t even begun to feel the effects of the Care Act 2014, which, when it comes fully into force, is going to decimate the resources of every council in the country. It is clearly a non-starter to move vulnerable people to the mainland and such a suggestion flies in the face of 21st century person-centred care and would leave Scilly Council open to legal proceedings for abuse. So, you’ve got to find a workforce to provide both residential care and care in the community, and an even larger workforce over the next few years as the epidemic of dementia strikes and we have a generally more frail very elderly population. This is not just a Scilly issue; no-one in power in this country is prepared to debate how we fund the ever-spiralling costs created by modern medicine’s ability to keep hearts beating even though quality of life is often poor, as we create a nation of highly dependent elderly people taking cocktails of umpteen drugs.

    I was reading over the weekend that there has been a 25% drop in social care staff nationwide over the last year or two (I forget the exact timescale). So Scilly would have to buck the trend, with a very limited pool of potential workers. With the imminent arrival of the statutory living wage, or whatever it’s called, many private and public care homes are fearing impossibly high staffing costs and contemplating closure. Believe me, with all the legislative requirements from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), it costs a fortune to run a care home or a domiciliary care service these days, and the planned fees quoted in the report seem reasonable. As to what Scilly Council is going to do, I really don’t know, but this is going to turn into one hell of a mess. The problems are massive on the mainland. They will be seismic in Scilly. You are certainly going to need a huge workforce, and for that you will need a massive programme of house building along with the infrastructure that goes with it. A GP told me about 15 years ago that 20 years hence from then (5 years from now) 40% of the population will be in receipt of care, and 40% will be employed in providing that care, leaving only 20% to grow the crops, staff the shops, drive the buses etc etc etc.

    To return to my usual theme here, this is what you get, of course, when you insist on being a unitary authority with a population of 2000: you get the legal responsibilities of such status without the resources or the knowledge to meet them.

    Scilly hasn’t a hope in hell of sorting this issue out because Scilly Council is run mostly by people who are not intelligent or experienced enough to understand these complex demographic, medical and economic issues. The irony is that they drove away from the council the one man who might have been well-positioned to give direction on this very issue: your retired GP.

  28. Jenny February 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Closing of Park House without providing another residential care home on the grounds of it being too costly to run is spurious. If you followed the logical path from this decision then you need to shut down the whole of the Council of the Isles of Scilly due to the ludicrous amount of money it costs to administer services for a population of 2800. It is farcical, the CEO earns the same as our Prime Minister who leads a country of 60million.

  29. Sara Corbetr February 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    It would be abhorrent to send any elderly island residents to the mainland against their wishes. Fee for homes on the mainland are very high and I don’t think that there would be any saving by closing Park House. Of course it is the best idea for those who can be cared for in their own home but only if they really can care safely and properly for their own needs with help from the excellent care workers.

    Looking after the elderly is a very costly thing wherever you are in the country and is getting more so each year. These costs will certainly rise when the council has to pay its workers the Living Wage and not just the current Minimum Wage.

    We have all got to get used to the fact that as we all live longer it is going to cost to care for us when we need it. We have all worked to pay our taxes and there should have been a provision made from these taxes to cover all these costs. You cannot penalise the old just because that provision was not made.

    It would cause immense distress to both the old person and the their family if the old person was shipped away like a parcel.

    If the council can afford to pay the current high salaries then they should be able to afford to fund care for the elderly.

  30. Glynne February 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    These prices are ridiculous and cannot be justified. they are dreamed up in an attempt to get the few residents who have to pay for thier accommodation, to subsidise the rest. The price to stay for 7 nights in the Premier Inn, Bodmin is £577.93 for Bed, Breaksfast & evening meal. Guests get their bed linen changed regularly, clean towells every day, free internet and help or medical care is just a phone call away. I admit that some residents of Park House need a lot more care than is available in a Premier Inn, but that is what is availble for a lot less than a £1,000 per week.

    • Dignitas February 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      No it isn’t Glynne. The prices are actually very reasonable. At the end of the day most people will moan that they have to pay tax, so how would you feel if the council tax bill rose accordingly to match the rising costs? Not happy I suspect.

      • Glynne February 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        I was once a Councillor and during my time as such, I was witness on more than one occasion, to the Chief Finance Officer reccomending to increase the annual Council Tax to the maximum permitted level just to break even in our annual budget. I was also witness to certain respected members blatantly ignoring those reccomendations and propose instead to increase the Council Tax by half the reccomended level in an attempt to win favour in the local community. I asked at the time what possible use this would have in the long term, as we would be digging a deeper and deeper hole for ourselves in the long term. The member’s proposals went through nonetheless and now we find ourselves in this position. When you say that I woudn’t be happy if the Council increased our annual Council Tax, no-one is happy about it, but it’s a neccessary evil and if it had been done at the time, we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

    • Peter February 15, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Glynne: Park House is not a hotel. See my other post. I’ve never been inside the place, but this is my field of expertise, and, if it is like every other care home in the country, it is effectively functioning as a hospital would have been 20 years ago, looking after very sick people. Premier Inns do not need to meet the exacting requirements of the Care Quality Commission, do not need their staff training for the Care Diploma, do not administer medication, do not provide pressure area care for bed-bound residents, do not address the psychological difficulties of those resident there etc etc etc. However, I fear that your belief that Park House is some kind of glorified Premier Inn may be shared by at least some Scilly councillors, who have failed to understand that what goes on in a 21st century care home is a very complex business indeed, which needs massive resources; and thus councillors have been oblivious to their duties in caring for this valuable resource to the community.

      • Glynne February 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        I did not say that Park House is a ‘glorified Premier Inn’, nor did I insinuate it or ‘believe’ that it is. What I did was to compare the price of staying in a hotel with staying in Park House. If you bothered to read my post properly instead of getting on your high horse, you’d see that I admitted that some of the residents of Park House need a lot more care than is available in a Premier Inn. I realise that specialist carers are required, diplomas etc etc. but nothing can justify charging pensioners, the infirm, or those who cannot look after themselves, nearly £52,000 per year.

        • Peter February 16, 2016 at 3:15 pm

          Your comparison is ridiculous. Care is a very expensive business. Let me put this really simply. If you took a resident of Scilly who has dementia and transported them to Bodmin and put them in a room in the Premier Inn, would their needs be met? Their physical needs? Their psychological needs? Would they be safe? Would they be protected from exploitation or abuse? Would their needs be anticipated? Would they be assisted to the toilet? Would they be sensitively helped to become clean again if they had been incontinent? Would they be able to die without pain, with dignity and with their loved ones at hand? I could go on and on. Being old and infirm is not about being warehoused in a room in Bodmin, Hugh Town or anywhere else. It’s about leading a dignified, if limited, lifestyle, and that requires expense and expertise in those who are working in that place.

  31. Jenny February 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    £900 a week does not seem excessive for excellent twenty four hour care. Do you have to share a bathroom. Why does a population of just 2800 people employ four social workers and additional support staff. One social worker in England covers a population of 2500. Can we reduce the numbers of very expensive staff and use it to care for people. Will the council get a grant to build bridges to the off islands. How else can care be provided when it is too rough to travel to them. There advert for off island home carers keeps on being readvertised again and again. Well thought through plan or sabra rattling for more money or else.

  32. Pete February 15, 2016 at 10:30 am

    This is typical through out the country today. Many of these people have worked hard and helped to build the country to what we have today, also many have fought for this country. Now they are discarded because of politics and money.

    • Gordon Bilsborough February 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      As a Member of the Community Services Committee (which meets on 16 February), I wish to make it quite clear that closing Park House without providing alternative residential care on the Islands must NOT even be considered as an option. Shipping elderly people to the mainland where they would be isolated from their families and friends should not be a policy in any civilised society. Care in the community is a front line service. It should be possible to make economies in some of the non-essential services to reduce the present deficit. This will mean a close examination of all the Council’s budgets before setting the 2016-17 Council Tax.

  33. Philosopher February 15, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Reading this report the old adages come to mind!
    A poor workman blames his tools!
    A society is judged by its treatment of its most vulnerable.

  34. Alan Johnston February 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I have say that the fees quoted in the report are in line with that on the mainland. I have managed both local authority,charity and private homes over the years and these costs are necessary to provide the level of care required and to staff at a safe level.

  35. Martin February 15, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I would just like to say that having gone through a similar experience with my Dad I fully support the views of Catherine above. Further, I would say the idea of sending elderly Island residents away from family and friends should be strongly resisted. The option should only be on the paper to satisfy the overlords but should NOT be seriously considered.

  36. Catherine February 14, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    OMG! Those weekly charges are extortionate. They are higher than any 5 star dementia nursing home that I know of and believe me, I’ve been to many whilst looking for one for my mum. And anyone who knows anything about dementia would know that sending someone to the mainland, to a completely new environment with the inability of family or friends to visit is completely the wrong thing to do. Care at Home is great but dementia sufferers don’t conform to visiting timetables. I seriously hope the Council give these proposals intense consideration and speak directly to those who have experience of caring for someone with dementia.

    • Neil February 15, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Those fees are not extortionate – having just looked around for my Mum, care home costs ranged from £595 in small converted houses to £1200 per week in purpose built homes with en-suite facilities. The problem for older people if they are moved from their home area to the mainland could make their conditions far worse and can act as a sort of bereavement feeling as outlined in a recent national report, plus the problems of visiting costing even more money.