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Nurse shortage and underfunding compel closure of Sheffield nursing home

October 1, 2019

Inadequate government funding and qualified staff shortage are the reasons given by a Sheffield care home operator for closing his only nursing home.

Roy Young, whose Silver Healthcare runs three homes in Sheffield, says it was the hardest decision of his 30-year career in social care to close the 40-bed Fulwood Lodge at the end of September.

He has assured relatives that the seamless re-location of all residents are his top priority and he is working closely with Social Services and the NHS on the transition.

Silver Healthcare’s two other homes – Rosebank and Leahyrst which specialise in dementia care and have substantially lower running costs as they don’t require registered nurses like Fulwood – are unaffected by the closure.

“Government cuts, increased staff wages, agency costs and reducing local authority budgets have made the future of the home unsustainable,” said Mr Young.

“Central government’s underfunding of the care sector has been a highly publicised issue for many years . Care providers have had to deal with increasing expenditures year on year, making the future of many homes unmanageable.

“The last two years have been the most stressful and financially challenging of my career and I have ploughed a considerable amount of personal funding into Fulwood Lodge in a bid to keep it open and maintain the highest standards of care possible.”

Mr Young said his decision to close the nursing home was purely a financial one and had nothing to do with how the home is being run.

“Fulwood is rated ‘Good’ by the CQC , employs a good manager, a good deputy manager and a good staff team throughout,” he said.

“Care providers like myself have been desperately hanging on for the Government’s social care green paper which has promised to address underfunding in the sector. This has now been delayed six times in the past 18 months and has left me with no choice but to cease trading at Fulwood Lodge and concentrate my efforts on providing the very best care at my Rosebank and Leahyrst homes.

Mr Young said there were major differentials in fee levels from area to area and city to city and care homes in Sheffield were without doubt underfunded when compared to other areas in the country.

“It is very difficult to understand, and confusing, why such significant differences should exist,” he said.

“The shortfall in fees can be very substantial with the difference in fee levels running into well over 6 figures a year per home – this fact alone highlights very strongly that we’re not competing on a level playing field. More than 100 care homes ceased trading across the country in 2018.

“I have always considered it totally unfair to rely on the continual increase in the fee level expected from private funders to help support the long term underfunding from the local council. Without it however, the majority of homes may not survive.”

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