Council chiefs planning £2.8m emergency improvement package for Hawick care home

Deanfield in Hawick.
Deanfield in Hawick.

Council chiefs are planning to splash the cash to the tune of £2.8m on a Hawick care home to put right what they describe as significant shortcomings in its condition. 

Scottish Borders Council’s closure-threatened arm’s-length care company, SB Cares, last month called in healthcare watchdogs after it was revealed that services at Deanfield Care Home had fallen below an acceptable standard.

Now, a report set to go before councillors next Thursday, September 26, asks them to approve emergency investment in the Roadhead home.

The plan proposed is to reallocate £2.8m in funding set aside for a new residential dementia care facility to pay for urgent improvement work at the Hawick home instead.

That is almost three times the figure of around £1m first suggested at the start of the month.

The report’s author, chief financial officer David Robertson, writes: “This report proposes urgent investment, not currently included within the council’s capital programme, to upgrade and remodel Deanfield Care Home in Hawick.

“The investment is required as a matter of urgency, given significant shortcomings in the condition, internal fabric and configuration of the current facility, which has been operated by SB Cares since 2015.

“The investment proposed will not only improve the quality of the home but will also facilitate a revised model of care, including the development of new respite care facilities in an underutilised wing of the current building.

“The report proposes the reallocation of £2.8m within the current capital plan for 2019-20 to 2028-29.

“It is proposed that this funding will come specifically from the budget presently allocated for the proposed development of a new residential dementia care facility within the Borders. 

“The new dementia facility is still in the planning phase and compensatory funding will need to be reinstated in the capital programme to deliver the dementia project as part of the budget process for 2020-21.

“In the meantime, this budget provides an appropriate source of funding for the enhancement of services at Deanfield.”

If that funding is approved, Deanfield, a 35-bed care home opened in 1987, will be converted into five domestic-style homes to create a care village.

The report says that such a model of care, providing specialist dementia care in a homely setting, has been successfully pioneered in the Netherlands. 

Mr Robertson continues: “The care home presents an urgent need to improve due to its current condition.

“Fixture and fittings throughout are aged. Kitchens are in need of replacement. Individual bedrooms require a complete overhaul to meet modern care standards. 

“New furniture is required throughout, as well as upgrades to new wet room bathrooms.

“The investment proposed will include appropriate elements of the building plant, plumbing and wiring, with significant improvements made to the energy efficiency of the home.

“Cumulatively, the works proposed to the fabric of the home will extend the life of the Deanfield by up to an estimated 25 years.”

Common areas of the care home, such as its day centre would be redeveloped into community spaces to be used for communal activities and group events, and an outdoor seating area would lead off from there.

The report states that some of the care home could be turned into small streetscapes to remind dementia sufferers how they used to live in their own homes.