Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Fears for elderly residents if North Devon’s care homes close

12:04 19 February 2014

Pamela Jewitt fears for her mother Queenie if council cuts force her to be moved from Oakwell care home.

Pamela Jewitt fears for her mother Queenie if council cuts force her to be moved from Oakwell care home.


Devon County Council’s plans to stop providing residential care met with shock and dismay by anxious relatives.

Oakwell care home at Bickington in Barnstaple.Oakwell care home at Bickington in Barnstaple.

WORRIED relatives have been left fearing for the future of their elderly loved ones after the announcement of proposals to close Devon County Council run care homes.

A 45-day consultation has begun on proposals to ‘cease providing residential care’ at Beech House in South Molton, Burrow House in Ilfracombe, Lydiate Lodge at Lynton, Fairlea in Northam plus Oakwell at Bickington and commission it from the private sector instead.

The North Devon Gazette understands the closure of Oakwell alone could mean the loss of around 50 jobs.

It is a double shock for those with parents and relatives in the various homes, following days after the revelation the council is also considering closing 11 North Devon day centres for the elderly or disabled.

People with relatives at the 20-bed Oakwell Home in Bickington, Barnstaple, were stunned when an impersonal letter informing them of the plan arrived on Tuesday of last week.

Pamela Jewitt, whose 94-year-old mother Queenie has been at the home for three years, fears being moved somewhere else will prove too much for many of the frail residents, who all suffer from a form of dementia.


“It means having to rehome them, which is going to be very traumatic for them because of their illness. My mother is 95 this year and she is quite frail, sometimes she knows me, sometimes she doesn’t,” she said.

“Some of them have no family at all, or they live away, and the only faces they recognise are their carers. So not only are they taking them away from their home, they’re taking them from carers they trust, which is going to make their dementia worse.

“It has all been done very coldly and underhanded. The staff were only told the afternoon before that relatives would be receiving a letter in the morning.”

A busy home

Miss Jewitt said up until the shock announcement, there had even been talk of expanding Oakwell because of the ever growing demand for specialist dementia facilities.

It offers a mix of residential and respite care, plus an ‘intermediate’ service acting as a halfway house for elderly people coming out of hospital who need physiotherapy or other rehabilitation services before they can go home.

The beds are almost always full and there are currently 13 long term residents, not including those in respite or intermediate care.

On top of this another 32 people in the community make daily use of the day centre, a service constantly described as a ‘lifeline’ by many.

“They do tremendous work here, especially in the day care. One lady told me she just does not know how she will cope with her mother’s illness 24 hours a day without the support of day and respite care,” added Miss Jewitt.

“She said: ‘I’m not suicidal right now, but I just feel that if I can’t cope I will have to leave my mum somewhere and then ring them up to tell them’.”

‘No decision yet’ claims council...

A spokesman for Devon County Council said no decisions had been made and would not until the consultation ended.

They added: “Private sector care homes already provide residential care to 85 per cent of the people in Devon whose care is publicly funded by the council. Just 15 per cent are cared for in the county council’s own homes. The proposal, if agreed, would mean the council would stop directly providing residential care for older people, and instead it would commission – as it already does already - more from the private sector.

“There would be no change to eligibility, so anyone who is entitled to receive support by the council would continue to be supported.

“If we decide to cease providing residential care ourselves and instead to use the private sector, any change would have to be made over a period of time, on case by case basis that is sensitive to people’s needs.”

They said council policy was to offer support to staff, seeking to avoid redundancies where possible and help them look for opportunities for redeployment.

* People who wish to respond to the consultation can do so by clicking here


Other News Stories

Yesterday, 14:00
Is the row over dogs back at Instow beach?

Parish Council meeting on Thursday, October 15 to review the situation

Read more
Yesterday, 13:40
Residents protest against the plans at the site in March. Picture: Jim Bell

Benefits outweigh the harm, says Government inspector

Read more
Yesterday, 11:37
Get your chickens an Eglu and help raise money for the British Hen Welfare Trust today (Friday).

Support for British Hen Welfare Trust from the Omlet Eglu

Read more
Yesterday, 10:33
Police are trying to track the car in this picture

The owner of a blue Nissan Almeira could have vital information on collision that killed Natalie Jones, say police

Read more
Yesterday, 09:23
John Balls with Clovelly caught lobsters.

Lobster fisherman has reached a landmark in his bid to help conservation at Clovelly

Read more
Yesterday, 09:16

September saw a 4.9 per cent increase in crime in Barnstaple on the same period last year.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:14
Portmore's Colin and Mandy Webber presented the cheque to representatives of the club's chosen charities

Five local charities are to benefit from another year of fundraising at Portmore Golf Club.

Read more
Thu, 17:17

Fire called out to help in the early hours of Thursday morning

Read more
Thu, 13:20
A busy Woolacombe Bay. North Devon has seen a welcome late summer boost in tourism this year

Tourism sectors across the region are reaping the benefits as a result of the late summer sunshine.

Read more
Thu, 12:06
Giant veg grower David Maund picked up a number of placings at the Malvern Autumn Show

A giant-vegetable grower from Bideford has returned from a national competition with a prize haul almost as big as some of his extraordinary exhibits.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications