By ROSALIND GRIFFITHS
A TEMPORARY care home at Montfield with 17 beds could be ready by 2010.
The council unanimously agreed in principle on Wednesday to accept a capital grant of £2.4 million from NHS Shetland to refurbish part of Montfield into the care home, which will have 15 single rooms and space for two couples.
The project has become possible because patients from Ronas Ward at Montfield have relocated to the Gilbert Bain Hospital, leaving part of the building vacant.
The temporary care home will be on the ground floor, formerly the site of Vaila Ward, which has now moved upstairs.
The new facility will be run and managed by the council at a cost of £800,000 per year, including leasing fees of £100,000. The building will remain the property of the NHS.
The partnership working will go some way to relieving Shetland’s care needs – there are 34 people currently waiting either in hospital or at home for a care bed. The temporary care home will free up space in the Gilbert Bain Hospital and reduce delayed discharges.
Finance director of NHS Shetland Nick Kenton said that work could start as early as February, assuming the council agrees the tender, and would extend over a 15-month contract. Regarding the way the project is being financed, with the NHS providing the up-front costs to get the work started and the council meeting the on-going costs, Mr Kenton said: “We are really pleased to have been able to work with the council to agree a funding package beneficial to all parties. The positive joint effort will provide a real benefit to all service users in Shetland.”
Chairwoman of NHS Shetland and vice chairwoman of the services committee Betty Fullerton said: “For the NHS and for the council this is an excellent plan. We are making the most of our resources and once completed it will assist in reducing the waiting list for residential care. It is good news for those waiting and good news for staff, who are balancing care needs in people’s homes and in residential care with limited resources.
“This is a hugely important breakthrough in the provision of care spaces in Shetland and an example of what partnership working can achieve.”
Ms Fullerton said it was not always necessary to have a new build for such a venture, and the NHS and the council would be working to discuss a five-year plan for meeting the need for care places.