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‘Beech Hill never stood a chance’: Anger after Forfar care home closure confirmed

Beech Hill Care home in Forfar.
Beech Hill Care home in Forfar.

Forfar’s Beech Hill care home is to close in a widely feared cost-cutting move.

The Lour Road facility’s future was thrown into doubt just before Christmas.

It was one of three Angus care homes to come under the spotlight in a district-wide review.

Arbroath’s Seaton Grove and Kinloch Care Home in Carnoustie avoided the axe or a reduction in bed numbers.

Instead, it will see all of Beech Hill’s 16 beds – eight long term and eight respite – decommissioned.

Care chiefs say they have taken the step because the elderly want to stay longer at home.

Family’s upset

But the decision has been met with resigned anger by one resident’s family.

“Beech Hill never stood a chance from the time this first came up,” they said.

“This will be upheaval and upset for the residents and their families.

“They never made any moves to keep the respite beds operating.

“So that meant they could say there wasn’t the demand.

“Folk have been settled there. And for some of the people here, living on their own is just not an option.”

Beech Hill
Beech Hill on Lour Road in Forfar. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

Angus Integration Joint Board voted behind closed doors last week to shut Beech Hill.

Staff and families were told of the decision on Monday.

At the same meeting, the IJB dropped the multi-million pound redevelopment of The Gables in Forfar.

Spiralling construction costs have been blamed for the decision not to go ahead with the £3.5 million supported accommodation scheme.

And it has prompted early speculation Beech Hill could be used to replace The Gables.

The 40-year-old home on Arbroath Road is home to adults with learning disabilities.

The Gables
Plans to redevelop The Gables have been dropped. Pic: Graham Brown/DCT Media.

‘Clear direction of travel’

Angus Health and Social Care Partnership will now be looking to the independent sector to fill the long-term and respite beds gap left by Beech Hill’s closure.

“There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated what was already a clear direction of travel where people clearly exercise a preference towards care at home,” said AHSCP.

“Our older people are increasingly wanting to remain within their own homes as opposed to residential care.

“This led to the IJB decision in autumn 2021 to reduce its commissioning of AHSCP care home beds by approximately 40 placements, including a reduction of up to 20 internal beds.

“This allows us to re-direct and invest those resources into our care at home service where demand is greatest and into preventative work.”

AHSCP added: “We fully recognise that it is the eight long-term residents, their relatives and our staff that this decision has greatest impact on and it is their welfare that will be of utmost importance moving forward.

“They are all individuals in their own right and their individual needs and preferences will be fully considered.

“Every effort will be taken to ensure they are fully involved and informed throughout the process of finding alternative arrangements and accommodation.

“We want to ensure they are all fully supported and that any impact created by this move is kept to a minimum.”

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