Frustration over plans for Exmouth care homes

A SEPARATE family caught up in the ongoing Premier Living housing issue have hit out at health authorities for showing a lack of regard to feelings. Mark Bell, who suffers from learning disabilities, stays in Forton House run by Premier Living Service, th

A SEPARATE family caught up in the ongoing Premier Living housing issue have hit out at health authorities for showing a lack of regard to feelings.

Mark Bell, who suffers from learning disabilities, stays in Forton House run by Premier Living Service, the body affiliated to the NHS Partnership Trust, which is soon to be disbanded.

His mother, Ann Bell, and sister, Jo Brown, 50, have been waiting for nearly one year to find out which provider will take over the service.

Concerned about his future welfare, they claim both the NHS Partnership Trust and Devon County Council's adult and community services have failed to keep them updated on what may happen to him.

Furthermore, similar to fears outlined by Tom Gorfin, Ms Bell and Mrs Brown have raised concern over whether Premier Living being phased out would mean Mark would be moved out of Forton House.

Mrs Brown said: "It worries me on a day-to-day basis. My mum is at an age where she is getting on and could do without the stress. We are still being kept in limbo."

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The adult and community services at Devon County Council have put back the date in which Premier Living ceases to operate.

This means Mark and other residents will be able to stay at Forton House for a few more months.

Carolyn Ellitott, assistant director and head of learning disability services, said: "We recognise that any changes need to be sensitively addressed and carefully planned.

"We will not rush the process of finding the right accommodation, with the right support packages in place.

"We realise therefore, that it is likely to stretch beyond our initial target date of March 31.

"Once the new chosen providers have been confirmed, we will be able to clarify the staffing arrangements and further transition details."

The Journal understands Premier Living is to be disbanded because the NHS is not the most appropriate or best-equipped provider of long-term residential services or people with a learning disability.

After the NHS and Devon County Council named a shortlist of potential providers recently, Mrs Brown said she was consulted, along with her mum, about which they thought would be suitable.

She is disappointed, however, that the choice seems to have been ignored.

"One minute they are saying we can choose and then the next it changes."

Mrs Brown said after careful consideration, they chose a provider called Roc but then received a letter implying they wouldn't be selected.

"This is unsettling. Do we have any choice in this matter?

"They have promised he will have a place on his own but then it's a case of getting the right care package.

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