MP speaks out over Exmouth care homes

EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has spoken out over plans for three Exmouth care homes for people with learning disabilities to move away from NHS control. Forton House and Cornerstones in St Johns Road, and the Lodge in Exeter Road, are currently run by Premier

EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has spoken out over plans for three Exmouth care homes for people with learning disabilities to move away from NHS control.

Forton House and Cornerstones in St Johns Road, and the Lodge in Exeter Road, are currently run by Premier Living Service for the NHS Partnership Trust. The service, however, is to be phased out next year.

Mr Swire said: "Clearly the priority is the welfare of the residents.

"I can appreciate any concerns that they and their relatives may have as the homes have been able to offer a very high level of care and attention of which they should be rightly proud.


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"Whilst I am not against the use of the private sector as such, the main motivating factor must always be achieving the highest standards of care for all patients.

"To this end I have written, on behalf of my constituent (Joanne Brown), to Iain Tulley, the Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust and I am anticipating a response shortly."

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Carolyn Elliott, assistant director of Devon learning disability health and social care partnership, said: "Premier Living's team has delivered some very high quality services over many years.

"Its staff are exceptionally committed." But, she added: "It is now widely accepted that the NHS is not the most appropriate or best-equipped provider of long-term residential services for people with a learning disability."

Asked whether the Forton House, Cornerstones and Lodge homes would close completely, Carolyn added: "It is possible that some of them will continue to operate.

"But, until detailed discussions have been had with prospective providers, it is not possible to say which ones."

The Premier Living Service currently provides care for 21 people in a total of seven homes and employs 97 staff members.

"There is a great deal of work going on across the county to review the needs of people with a learning disability.

"This work is being undertaken in the context of a national drive to provide greater levels of choice, personalised service and independence for people.

"The direction of travel across the country, and recognised best practice within the valuing people initiative, is that services should be delivered by a range of specialist providers in social care settings.

"This enables them to be tailored to meet individual needs.

"Over the coming months, we will continue to work closely with them to review their needs and enable these to be matched to the best possible packages of care and support."

"We will, of course, also be working closely with the staff concerned to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements," explained Carolyn.

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