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Anger and shock at sudden decision to close Ripon care home

Clova House could close as soon as the end of the month.
Clova House could close as soon as the end of the month.

The sudden decision to close a care home in Ripon has created anger and shock among the relatives of residents.

Four months ago the Care Quality Commission published a report which found that Clova House Care Home on Clotherholme Road requires improvement, and ongoing struggles with staffing and maintaining standards of care has driven the decision to close, as soon as the end of the month.

In a statement by Four Seasons Health Care, which runs Clova House and more than 300 other care homes nationwide, regional managing director Marjorie Condacos said the decision is "based on a number of factors" following an internal review.

She said: “The proposal to cease operating the home has not been arrived at easily and it is based on a combination of factors. We have had local difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff with the right level of skills.

"This has necessitated a high use of temporary agency staff and it has resulted in challenges to maintain the standards that we expect all of our homes to provide and we are not prepared to see Clova House continue to struggle.

"The home has not been financially sustainable for some time. It now requires significant expenditure to bring it to the standards that we require for a modern care home and this cannot be justified as the local market conditions to not offer a realistic prospect of improving its viability.

"The wellbeing of residents is our priority and we will work closely with North Yorkshire County Council’s Social Services team to ensure that families are supported to make appropriate care arrangements. Clova House will continue to provide care while we allow plenty of time for this.”

The home has 21 residents, which is only about two thirds of its capacity.

City Coun Andrew Williams, whose relative has been living at Clova House, fears the levels of stress and upset that the upheaval could create among residents.

Mr Williams said: "I was fortunate enough to find an alternative care home for my relative, but my concern is for the residents currently at Clova House - I am not convinced that there are 21 beds available at care homes in Ripon.

"For people who can't cope with change at the best of times to suddenly face this stress is terrible. They say that moving house is one of the most stressful periods of our lives, but at least when you are moving yourself you can plan and have plenty of prior warning. To place vulnerable members of the community in this position is awful."

A North Yorkshire County Council spokesperson said: "The wellbeing of residents is the priority for the authority and the county council’s social services team is working closely with owner Four Seasons Health Care, residents, their families and carers to ensure that residents and their families are supported in making suitable alternative care arrangements.

"The council aims to make the transition of moving to a new home as smooth as possible and will provide support during this period."