Plans To Merge Park House With St Mary’s Hospital Move A Step Closer
Plans to merge Park House with St Mary’s hospital have moved a step closer after councillors voted in favour of developing the scheme.
It follows an appraisal of the options for the care of elderly and vulnerable residents on the islands, produced by Five Square Solutions, a consultancy firm based in Plymouth.
The report was presented to councillors at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting.
Options ranged from keeping the existing arrangements for the care home, Park House, through to removing all residential care on the islands and accommodating elderly residents on the mainland.
The costs of providing residential care in Scilly have been increasing and last year, councillors were warned that the authority would have to subsidise Park House by almost £300,000.
Fees for residents were raised to more closely reflect the costs of providing the service.
But several councillors have voiced concern over any plans to send residents to the mainland for care.
Instead, councillors have now chosen to develop a model which could see Park House being sold off and new residential care facilities developed, either at the current St Mary’s hospital or a new, purpose-built facility near the current hospital and Health Centre.
That would have fifteen en-suite rooms with space to build a further five in the future.
Costs would range from around £2.2m up to £4.8m for the new build option. Officers say this would be paid for in part by the sale of the current Park House site for around £500,000 and the hospital for £1m.
Co-locating in a new building could also bring savings on running costs, they say.
Officers say domiciliary care would also be expanded across all the islands to ensure that elderly residents can remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
Cllr Christine Savill said she “did have hesitations” about the plans at one stage but added: “If we achieve this, it will be one of the biggest and most important things this council has ever achieved.”
At previous meetings, Cllr Gordon Bilsborough had been vociferous in his opposition to elderly residents being moved to the mainland, describing it as “a death sentence.”
But Cllr Bilsborough said the proposed plans to move to the hospital site, “should hopefully minimise the chance of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients being sent to the mainland against the will of their loved ones.”
Officers will now develop the plans and bring them back to the Council for approval.