Honiton: Care home under threat of closure

A RESIDENTIAL care home is likely to close in Honiton, meaning a loss of jobs and misery for families.

A RESIDENTIAL care home is likely to close in Honiton, meaning a loss of jobs and misery for families.

The Lisburn Unit, in Church Hill, cares for people with complex disabilities.

Premier Living, which runs the unit for the NHS Partnership Trust, is to cease operating in March.

The service, which employs 97 staff, will now be put out to tender and it is believed it will be taken over by a private-sector provider.

Ernie and Sylvia Steer, of Beer, are worried about what will happen to their son, Gavin.

He has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. He is settled at Lisburn House.

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The couple have been told Gavin will not be moved out of Devon, but Ernie said: "Devon is a big county. We've got to think about the future. We may not be able to drive and see him if he has to move."

Ernie, 73, is battling prostate cancer and he said the ambiguity of the situation is adding to the family's stress.

"We thought he was settled for life - this is the last thing we need," he said.

Carolyn Elliott, assistant director of Devon Learning Disability Health and Social Care Partnership, said the move to privatise Premier Living is in line with a county-wide review investigating the needs of people with serious learning disabilities.

She said: "It is now widely accepted that the NHS is not the best-equipped provider of long-term residential services for people with a learning disability."

It is possible that Lisburn could stay open, but this will not be known until detailed talks have taken place with the new provider.

Carolyn also said the partnership will work closely with the residents and their families over the next few months to ensure a "smooth transition".

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