Town could get new care home

By Dave GooderhamA BED-blocking crisis could be eased under a new proposal to build a 60-bed care home in a town.Festival Care Homes Ltd has submitted a plan to turn the former community centre in Symonds Road, Bury St Edmunds, into a care home after surveys revealed a dearth of similar accommodation in the market town.

By Dave Gooderham

A BED-blocking crisis could be eased under a new proposal to build a 60-bed care home in a town.

Festival Care Homes Ltd has submitted a plan to turn the former community centre in Symonds Road, Bury St Edmunds, into a care home after surveys revealed a dearth of similar accommodation in the market town.

Managing director, Richard Thomas, said: “There is a relative shortage of care beds and, more specifically, this would be one of the only purpose-built nursing homes in Bury or the catchment area.


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“Obviously, the older buildings are getting harder and harder to work with - it is quite unusual to find a town of the size of Bury without many purpose built nursing homes.

“We know this answers a need in the town and we have tried to be quite sympathetic to the site and the area.”

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The company has submitted a plan to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which will discuss the application in the near future.

“Planners have taken it on board and they are quite serious about our ideas, which makes us quite hopeful that it will be approved,” said Mr Thomas.

He hoped the care home would be open within 12 months of the council giving approval to the scheme.

Joanna Spicer, county councillor and former chairman of the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, said: “I welcome the application as in the west of the county there is a great shortage of residential and nursing home care for the frail elderly.

“One of the reasons there are still too many delayed discharges in hospitals is because there is a shortage of beds and any facilities would be welcomed providing they were given planning approval.”

Delayed discharges - a situation known as bed-blocking where patients are well enough to leave hospital, but adequate care cannot be found for them in the community - has been a concern at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds for a number of years.

A spokesman for the hospital said yesterday there were currently 30 delayed discharges at the hospital and Walnuttree Hospital in Sudbury.

In October, an investment of £1.5million was announced to combat the problem.

It will be used to pay for home carers and physiotherapists to look after people in their own homes rather than in the dwindling number of residential homes.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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