Cornwall man tearful and 'losing sleep' as wife's care home set to close

  • Watch Sam Blackledge's report

A man whose wife lives in a Cornwall care home has hit out at "ridiculous" plans to close it.

The Duchy's largest care provider - Cornwall Care - has announced the closure of three of its homes due to staff shortages and financial pressures caused by Covid.

It means residents at the sites in Truro, Helston and Carbis Bay will have to move to alternative accommodation.

The news comes just days after Cornwall Council declared a "critical incident" in adult social care.

Roy Emler's wife Sheila, who is 64, lives at Mountford House care home in Truro. He found out about his wife's care home closing in a news article online and later received a letter about it.

He was tearful as he spoke to ITV News about the impact moving may have on his wife, saying she is all he has left.

  • Roy Emler speaks to ITV News

He said: "The letter acknowledges that it will be upsetting for the residents.

"My wife doesn't handle change very well at all. I can't imagine very many of the residents in there do.

"It's their home - it's their sanctuary.

"The staff know them, care for them, and I have to say they care for them very, very well.

"I just think it's ridiculous."

He said it is "beyond belief" for care homes to close when there is a care crisis in Cornwall.

No final decision has been made, but families have been warned their loved ones may have to relocate and Roy is concerned a different home may be too far to travel to visit his wife.

"I used to visit Sheila every single day before Covid reared its head and now I only come twice a week but I speak to her on the video link every single day.

"I don't think her mental health will be helped whatsoever by moving her.

"I'm upset, I didn't sleep last night, had several tearful episodes. Sheila is all I've got left, I can't afford her to suffer any drawbacks which may well happen if she's moved from this home."

Mountford House care home

The other sites earmarked for closure are Headlands in Carbis Bay and Trengrouse in Helston.

The chair of Cornwall Healthwatch says it has not been an easy decision.

The charity, which provides 650 beds across 16 sites along with community care packages, needs to save around £5million this year.

What Cornwall Care has said

The charity says it is "committed" to delivering "excellent standards" of care as it announced a restructure which will see three of its 16 homes be "temporarily closed".

It said the move is part of a three-stage transformation strategy to "streamline Cornwall Care’s operational model and strengthen its resilience to the devastating impact of Covid-19 and ongoing recruitment and financial issues".

The statement added: "The organisation will be devolving greater responsibility to home managers and reducing business support activities."

The first phase of the transition programme last year involved closing Cornwall Care’s administrative headquarters in Threemilestone.

The charity says the next phase is about integrating services, empowering frontline teams, cutting costs and reducing reliance on agency staffing.

A month-long formal consultation process is being launched and the outcome will be announced on February 24.

The third and final stage of the transformation plan this spring will focus on continued debt recovery, reinvestment, new strategic developments and sustainable business improvement.

Cornwall Care said that recent data shows Cornwall is the worst affected area in the country for staff shortages which has meant their staff are "continually going above and beyond" to ensure they serve the most vulnerable to the very best of our abilities.

"Closing three of our homes is a temporary measure," the charity said.

"We haven’t got sufficient staff to carry out all aspects of our current service to the high standards we require and, with Covid restrictions reducing our occupancy rates, costs have to be reduced by £5m this year. A plan is in place to deliver that."