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Closing Priory House will cost more than repairs
11:50am Friday 13th December 2013 in Echo News
CLOSING an “excellent” council-run care home will cost more than repairing it , it has been revealed.
Southend Council claims it has to close Priory House, in Prittlewell Chase, Southend, as it will need more than £1million of repairs over the next ten years and paying independent homes to look after residents is cheaper.
However, redundancy costs and the cost of delaying the closure for a year as planned will cost even more, the Echo can reveal.
Giving the council-run home’s 45 staff the boot will cost £533,000 and keeping the home open for another year, to avoid moving vulnerable residents near the end of their lives, will cost £540,000.
That £1,073,000 total is more than the £1,057,075 the council estimates would be needed for repairs and maintenance.
Stan Saunders, 85, of Canterbury Avenue, Southchurch, who collected 3,200 signatures in a bid to save the care home, said: “It just doesn’t make sense they are doing this. Obviously they plan to get rid of the home and that is what they are going to do.”
Senior Tories decided to close the 28-bed facility, which supports up to 12 residents a day, last month, despite 15,000 people signing a petition against the plan.
Better public sector pay and conditions means it costs the council £774 a week to house patients there, compared to £430 at homes run by private firms or charities. When the council closes Priory House, which it rates as excellent, and its other council-run care home, Delaware House in Maplin Way, which is earmarked for redevelopment, it expects to make savings of £540,000 a year.
Lesley Salter, Southend councillor responsible for adult social care, said: “The council is taking the most pragmatic route which provides savings over the next ten years of £5.4million.
“Additionally, the expenditure savings on maintenance and repair of the existing homes, some £1million, can be ring fenced toward building a new facility for older people with dementia.
“Meanwhile, we’ve been working proactively to minimise redundancy costs and will continue to do so through redeployment of staff wherever possible.”
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