A £9 million pound state-of-the-art community care centre in Darley Dale could be given the go-ahead next week as part of a massive investment into old people’s care.
Derbyshire County Council is planning a major £200 million investment to restructure how vulnerable pensioners are looked after, which they say is the first of its kind in the country.
But while there is a possibility of council-run care homes being closed and converted into specialist accommodation for the elderly in other parts of Derbyshire, Darley Dale could receive the cash to build the care centre next to the Whitworth Hospital.
Similar to one already open at Staveley, it would provide long-term care for up to 16 dementia sufferers, eight respite beds and eight intermediate care beds, as well as space for up to 20 day-care patients.
Pam Wildgoose, secretary of Matlock Hospital’s League of Friends, welcomed the news.
She said: “It will be on the land next to the hospital and it will provide a very good extra facility for the local community. I have seen the one at Staveley and that is very well designed. It looks like they have done a lot of work on the design at Darley Dale.”
Despite plans to build it on the vacant land adjacent to the Whitworth Hospital, Pam admits it will have little bearing on the hospital itself.
“This new facility will obviously not be NHS and that is one thing that may complicate things in the public’s mind, particularly with it being next to the hospital,” she added. “I do not think what they are doing will affect the future of the hospital, whatever that may be.”
The council says the facility would act as a hub for older people’s services in the community and offer a range of community facilities and day services.
Derbyshire County Council leader, Cllr Andrew Lewer said: “These plans are a major leap forward in the way we care for older people. “We want everyone to have their own front door and live independently for as long as possible.”
Under the scheme, up to 1,600 ‘extra care’ one and two-bedroomed apartments could be created in 27 locations.
However, it would lead to an extensive consultation over the future of those sites, most of which are residential homes. Consultation into the first nine, which includes one in Heanor, could begin in April if the plans are given approval during the council’s cabinet meeting on Monday.
Consultation will be carried out at the remaining homes over the next five years.
One possible suggestion has been to convert Gernon Manor residential home in Bakewell into a centre for people with learning disabilities.
But the council stressed that every home affected would undergo an individual consultation and no decisions have been made.