17 May 2002
The trustees of the Multiple Sclerosis Society have recommended the closure of its holiday homes in Exmouth and Worthing. The final decision will be taken in July, after a period of staff consultation.
Mike O'Donovan, the Society's chief executive, said today (Friday, 17 May 2002) that three factors had led to the recommendation.
"The first is that the homes are operating well below capacity as the choice of other accessible destinations widens".
"The second is the Society's commitment to focus resources on high standards of care for people very severely affected by MS. We have three purpose-built respite care centres and we are also looking to develop home respite care," he said.
"The third factor is the impact of the Government's new National Standards for care homes. To comply with the standards we would have to spend £560,000 in the next year alone to upgrade the facilities and we would have to reduce the number of beds by half.
"That would mean that the subsidy we provide for guests would treble, to an average figure approaching £1,000 per bed per week".
Mr O'Donovan said the recommendation had been made with great regret after a very thorough review. "We realise it could be upsetting for guests, especially those who have used the homes for a number of years. However, if the recommendation to close is confirmed we shall do everything we can to help people find acceptable alternatives. We shall set up an enquiry line and introduce a directory of respite care centres and holiday homes.
"We also regret very much what this will mean for staff, volunteers and supporters, whose commitment to the homes has been so strong. We shall have plans in place to help staff find suitable alternative employment."
Notes to Editors:
Orcombeleigh Care Hotel, Douglas Avenue, Exmouth, Devon, was opened in 1973 and currently takes up to 19 guests. Kenninghall MS Care Hotel, Shakespeare Road, Worthing, West Sussex, was opened in 1980 and currently takes up to 18 guests.
David Harrison or Adrian Ellis
Harrison Bergman Limited
020 7838 2680 or 07836 523495 (mobile)