Two centres for people with learning difficulties and brain injuries, Friday House and Ridgeway, to close

Friday House. Friday Bridge.

Friday House. Friday Bridge. - Credit: Archant

Two centres which support 17 people with learning difficulties and brain injuries will close at the end of the month.

Friday House. Friday Bridge.

Friday House. Friday Bridge. - Credit: Archant

Two centres which support 17 people with learning difficulties and brain injuries will close at the end of the month.

The Huntercombe Group, which has more than 50 hospitals and specialist units, says they have taken the decision to close Friday House in Friday Bridge and Ridgeway in Newton because they are operating below capacity.

At Friday House, a team of 20 staff look after 13 patients. The Ridgeway has seven staff and four patients.

Marion Ashman, whose brother-in-law Stephen ,59, lives at Friday House, said that she and husband Mick are deeply concerned as they have so far been unable to find alternative accommodation for Stephen, who has severe Down’s Syndrome.


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Mrs Ashman said they need to get Stephen, who has been at Friday House for eight years, used to any new home before he moves in.

“We feel we are being dragged from pillar to post, we can’t seem to get any answers on alternative accommodation for Stephen and the deadline is only a matter of weeks away now,” said Mrs Ashman

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Huntercombe says they will look to transfer their patients to other centres within Huntercombe or the Four Seasons Health Care Group. If this is not possible, they will help them find suitable alternative accommodation.

A Huntercombe spokesman said: “Following a strategic review, The Huntercombe Group intends to close The Friday House and Ridgeway.

“The wellbeing of the 17 patients is paramount and we are working with NHS England and families to ensure they are supported in finding suitable alternative care provision.

“We are also committed to supporting our 20 staff who are affected by this difficult decision and we will look for appropriate opportunities in another service within Huntercombe or the wider Four Seasons Health Care Group. “Alternatively, we will support their redeployment to a role outside of the organisation. A consultation process is under-way with staff about the planned closure.”

Both centres met all standards in their most recent Care Quality Commission inspections.

A report last July into Friday House said: “The relatives we spoke with confirmed to us that they were very pleased with the care that their family member had been provided with over the years.

“They also said that they were kept informed of any changes in their family member’s health or if they had been admitted to hospital and the reason for this.”

When Ridgeway was inspected in 2013, the inspectors said “people told us that staff cared for them well, they liked the staff - one person stated I want to stay here for the rest of my life”.

Huntercombe says closing the centres is a decision which “had not been taken lightly”.

The spokesman added: “This decision has not been taken lightly and is not a reflection on the quality of care provided at the centres.

“The primary reason is that the pattern of commissioning is changing so that the majority of people with learning disabilities will receive community care provision rather than being cared for in an in-patient setting.

“The centres are operating at well below their capacity and our analysis of the longer term demand indicates this would be likely to continue.”

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