Hopes Dashed For Severely Disabled People and Staff At The Sue Ryder Centre In Ely As Closure Is Ann

FADING hopes that the Sue Ryder Care Centre in Ely would be spared from closure were dashed this week after it was announced that no viable option to save the centre could be found. Around 40 severely disabled residents at the Old Palace, many of whom suf

FADING hopes that the Sue Ryder Care Centre in Ely would be spared from closure were dashed this week after it was announced that no viable option to save the centre could be found.

Around 40 severely disabled residents at the Old Palace, many of whom suffer with debilitating illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's, will now have to be relocated by healthcare commissioners before the centre is forced to close its doors in January next year.

The news comes after staff, residents and managers embarked on a 90-day consultation period in a last minute bid to try and save the centre from closure.

Consultees were asked to put forward suggestions on how best to save the centre after it was revealed in July that the Old Palace had made a loss of �240'000 in the year ending March 2009.


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Paul Woodward, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said: "Having considered all contributions and comments carefully throughout the process I can announce that no viable, suitable or alternative plan has been proposed. Accordingly it is therefore with regret that we will be closing The Old Palace, Ely.

"We take our duty of care extremely seriously and the interests of residents and our staff continue to be the primary focus for the charity. We will be working closely with commissioners and alternative care providers, families and residents to assist in securing suitable placements.

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"I would like to thank all our staff who have remained very professional throughout the consultation process. Their continued dedication to those whom they care is a testament to them."

Problems for the centre first arose last year when the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the body responsible for regulating independent health and social care providers, declared that the Old Palace would no longer be suitable as a care home after September 2010 due to incoming Government legislation.

As such, Sue Ryder was required to make around �8 million worth of improvements to the centre to bring it up to standard, and the pressures on the charity due to the credit crunch meant that cash for such improvements was not available.

The charity, which leases the building from Church Commissioners, is believed to have in excess of 40 years remaining on its tenancy agreement, which will need to be sold in the coming months ahead of the expected closure date in January 2010.

A spokesman confirmed to the Ely Standard that discussions regarding redundancies among the centre's staff would be ongoing, with some expected to be offered positions at other care homes.

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