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Ash Vale Care Home Shortlisted for Possible Closure

Published on: 29 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 30 Nov, 2021

Abbeywood Care Home, operated by Surrey County Council, is in Wharf Road, Ash Vale. Image – Google Maps

By David Reading

An Ash Vale residential care home for elderly people is one of eight homes being considered for closure by Surrey County Council.

Abbeywood care home, operated by the county council, was built around 1980. It provides accommodation and personal care for up to 51 people who may be living with dementia or have needs related to being elderly.

Admissions during the pandemic have fallen, and as of September 9 this year, 30 people were resident at Abbeywood.

A public consultation to review the future of eight care homes is underway. It ends on January 5.

Cllr Carla Morson

Carla Morson, county councillor for Ash, told The Dragon: “Abbeywood is an integral and well-loved part of our community. The thought of potentially losing it is devastating.

“I have been and will continue to be in contact with the cabinet member for Adult Social Care at Surrey County Council. I’m also constantly encouraging all of our community to have their say on the consultation.

“This must be a very unsettling time for both the residents and staff at Abbeywood and although I understand they are being supported by Surrey County Council, I am also more than happy to help in any way I can.”

The three options being considered are:

  1. Maintain and sustain some or all of the eight care homes and continue to meet building compliance standards.
  1. Modernise and refurbish some or all of the eight care homes.
  1. Close one or more of the homes and support residents to move to an alternative home. The council says it would support staff to be redeployed or to find alternative employment externally.

The council is concerned that considerable costs would be involved in modernising and refurbishing Abbeywood. The building is reaching an age where maintenance and running costs are significantly higher than the industry standard, says the council. “Considerable investment would be needed to bring Abbeywood up to modern standards and expectations.”

The care home has capacity for 51 residents but in September had only 30. Image – Google Maps

The eight care homes are: Abbeywood, Wharf Road, Ash Vale; Barnfield, Upfield, Horley; Birchlands, Barley Mow Road, Englefield Green; Chalkmead, Deans Road, Merstham, Redhill; Heathside, Coley Avenue, Woking; Keswick, East Park Avenue, Great Bookham; Meadowside, Knowle Park Avenue, Staines; and Orchard Court, East Grinstead Road, Lingfield.

A detailed report on each building has been written by Savills, an independent firm of surveyors.

Abbeywood was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in March 2020 and was rated ‘Good’.

But the council says that over time fewer people are choosing to move into a residential setting, preferring to remain in their own homes and local area for as long as possible.

The council points out a number of flaws with Abbeywood including:

  • The layout of the home and the bedroom sizes, in particular, are relatively small in comparison with new build care homes. This means it is a challenge to accommodate additional equipment, such as hoists or other mobility aids.
  • The bedrooms lack access to en-suite facilities meaning bathrooms and toilets are shared by both men and women living in that area of the home. Over the last two years it has also become increasingly evident that shared facilities present a challenge when managing the control of infections such as norovirus, flu and COVID-19.

Referring to its consultation exercise, the council says: “This is a listening exercise, and our overriding priority is the wellbeing of the residents and staff at the homes who we want to involve fully and sensitively. We welcome the views and opinions of everyone, and any responses received will help us take into account the public’s views when making a decision“.

Responses will be collated, and a report will be prepared for the council’s cabinet. Access the survey here: Online Survey.


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