Relatives say care home closure plan would be ‘devastating’ for residents

Ringshill Care Home, Huntingdon

Ringshill Care Home, Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

Relatives of residents living at Ringshill Care Home have been left devastated after plans to close to the home were announced this week.

The site, in Sallowbush Road, Huntingdon, is home to 59 residents, who, in the next few months, will have to find alternative accommodation after problems with costs meant running the home was “not sustainable” for the firm in charge.

“Everyone has got to find alternative arrangements,” one relative, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Hunts Post.

“It’s breaking up a lot of people who rely on each other and it’s like a family in the home. It’s really devastating for the staff as well as the residents.”

The woman, who lives near Huntingdon, said her 84-year-old mother has been living with dementia at the home for about four years, and that she is able to visit her around four times a week.

“Just to move her is going to be traumatic for her. There are a lot of residents who are very confused because of their dementia, and it will take so many months to settle back in, if at all,” she said.

“You can be in Chatteris or South Cambridgeshire - it’s a massive area. It doesn’t bear thinking about [if her mother is moved far away]. It would be devastating.”

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Another concerned relative, Rosemary Hayden, said she “can’t imagine” what moving her sister-in-law from the home would be like.

Also living with dementia, 70-year-old Phyllis Sansum has been at the home for five years, and is visited by her brother, Frederick, almost every other day.

Mrs Hayden said: “My brother wouldn’t be able to do it [visit her if she moved far away]. It would have a bad effect on him as well as Phyllis.”

Four Seasons Health Care, which owns the home, confirmed it had plans to close the facility and that it was currently in consultation with staff.

Marjorie Condacos, regional managing director at the company, said: “The proposal to cease operating the home has not been arrived at easily, but we think it is unavoidable.

“Ringshill has been operating at a loss for some time as the income it is receiving does not cover its operating costs, which include rent of the leasehold premises. We effectively have been paying to provide care and this is not sustainable in the long term.

“The wellbeing of the people living in the home is our priority and we will work closely with Cambridgeshire County Council to ensure that the residents and their families are supported to find suitable alternative placements.”

The company added that for the 66 staff members employed at the home, it will consider applications for vacancies at its other sites, but recognises that travel distance could be an issue.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said they will be doing their utmost to reduce worry for residents and their families.

They added: “We will make sure any move takes into consideration their long term welfare and needs, including where possible keeping friends together, locating people close to family and finding the right placements.

“Although this is a large number of people to move, we are working with Four Seasons, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, families and all the residents to find locations that they can call home again.”