RBS shuts care homes to save money in Canterbury

Elderly woman Image copyright PA
Image caption Elderly people at the Oldroyd House in Canterbury have been given three months notice

Ninety-two-year-old Lucy Clancey has lived at Oldroyd House in Canterbury for the past six years and she likes it there.

She likes the home, her fellow residents and the staff.

Lucy expected to be able to spend the rest of her days here but two weeks ago she - along with her fellow residents - was handed a letter by the owners - the Royal Bank of Scotland Care Homes Foundation - giving her three months notice.

The Canterbury home is one of three owned by the RBS Foundation - the other two are in Harrogate and Torquay.

Hard to move

The charity provides homes for pensioners of the bank, although residents are charged the market rate of between £500 and £700 a week.

Dr Roz Altman from Saga warns that moving elderly people can seriously affect them. Many who are forced to move don't live for long in their new accommodation.

In a statement RBS said: "A major problem is that the homes are too small and although they meet regulatory standards, they do not meet the standards currently expected in the market.

"The homes are not purpose built and their poor configuration contributes to the high running costs.

"Future maintenance costs of the homes are likely to be high."

Care costs

They went on to say: "The trustees have been concerned about the continued financial losses and low occupancy rates within the three care homes operated by the charity.

"We understand that the closure is upsetting for both the residents and for staff, and are committed to doing everything possible to support them."

Campaigners dispute the fact that the homes aren't fit for purpose, pointing out all were rated excellent by the Care Quality Commission at their last inspection.

This isn't an isolated problem though - and Britain has an ageing population. More than 400,000 people in England live in care homes.

Image copyright bbc
Image caption There is concern about the cost of care as Britain's ageing population increases

Half of people over 65 can expect care costs of up to £20,000. One in 10 could currently experience costs of over £100,000.

Care for the elderly is in the spotlight with the publication on Monday 11 July of the Dilnot report, looking into how the government should fund care in the longer term.

Lucy Clancey and her fellow residents though have a more pressing problem in the short term - finding a new care home.