Dismay at care-home closure revelation

RESIDENTS and staff at a care home are coming to terms with the sudden news of its closure.

On Monday, HC-One announced that its Avala Park facility in Widdrington Station is to shut this autumn, citing ‘outdated facilities’ as the reason.

It is anticipated the proposed closure will be completed by the end of September, although provision has been made to extend this timeframe if required.

The company is working to ensure its 12 residents are offered places at other care homes of their choice and where their individual needs will be best supported. It is also liaising closely with staff to minimise the impact upon them and will try to retain as many as possible at other HC-One homes in the region.

A spokesman said: “It is with much sadness that we make this announcement.

“We are very sorry about this decision, which has only been made after much consideration. We are working with all parties, particularly with residents, families and staff, to agree an appropriate closure date.

“We took over the running of the home on November 1, 2011, and despite being recognised for the quality of care we provide at Avala Park, following a number of conversations with the local authority we feel that whilst comfortable and safe, the home is outdated in the facilities on offer compared to alternative services in the immediate area and so we will not be able to continue to provide care to the level required in an HC-One home in the longer term.

“Our priority will always be the health and well-being of our residents. Our team is already working with them, their families and Northumberland County Council to ensure that residents are offered places at other care homes of their choice.”

County councillor Scott Dickinson, whose Druridge Bay ward includes Widdrington Station, said: “I am obviously saddened by the news and the impact this will have for residents and staff, but I am assured that the county council has taken immediate action to support families following the announcement.

“If I can help any further I will and people can contact me should they feel I can assist them in any way.”

The MP for this area, Sir Alan Beith, told the Herald that it was a very difficult situation for the elderly residents and the staff at Avala Park and he has made detailed inquiries about what support is in place and how they can be helped.