Six Surrey residential care homes facing closure

Elderly woman being comforted by a carer Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The GMB union fears the closures would cause distress to elderly residents

Six local authority-run care homes in Surrey are facing closure because of the unsuitability of the buildings.

The county council has said the buildings were not designed to meet present standards for accommodation.

They are Brockhurst in Ottershaw, Park Hall in Reigate, Cobgates in Farnham, Dormers in Caterham, Longfield in Cranleigh, and Pinehurst in Camberley.

The GMB union said it was concerned about the future of emergency elderly care provision and the loss of jobs

'Distress to residents'

It understands that 437 jobs are under threat.

Surrey County Council has begun a consultation on the future of the homes following a comprehensive review.

It said they were unsuitable for refurbishment and its preferred option was they should be closed and the residents moved on.

The other options are: stay as is, extend and redevelop existing homes, sell or lease homes to other providers.

Frank Minal, GMB regional organiser, said as well as the job losses, the closures would cause distress to elderly residents, and lead to a direct loss of emergency elderly care provision.

'Ageing homes'

"GMB as well as residents and relatives are shocked that the council's preferred option is to close the homes before a full consultation has been carried out in the community," he added.

A council spokesman said: "The most important thing is to make sure older people receive the very best care.

"We're helping many more people stay in their own homes until much later in life and increasingly they need round the clock nursing when they do go into care.

"Our ageing homes are finding it harder and harder to provide this, which is why we're asking people for their views."

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