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The Future of Notrees Care Home, Kintbury

Have your say

Consultation status Archived
Start date: 2022-04-25
End date: 2022-06-08
Results 2022-09-26
Category: Adult Care and Housing, Health and Wellbeing

Activity closed. Results published.


Notrees Care Home Kintbury
West Berkshire Council currently manages three care homes in West Berkshire: Birchwood, Willows Edge, and Notrees. When fully occupied they can provide nursing and residential care for 115 people over the age of 65, who have been assessed as requiring 24-hour care. The homes employ approximately 140 permanent staff, with a heavy reliance on agency and casual staff, to ensure that safe staffing levels are achieved.

Notrees Care Home is located in Kintbury, and has space to accommodate 18 residents who need support with daily living, and have night needs and physical dependencies. It is also able to care for those with a secondary diagnosis of early stage dementia. Currently, the home cares for 10 residents. Most bedrooms are equipped with en-suite toilets, and there are purpose-built bathrooms for safe and accessible bathing.

Legislative Requirements

We, as a local authority, have a duty to arrange the provision of nursing and residential care for eligible people in our area under the Care Act (2014).

This can be provided either through the independent/external care homes market or directly by the council.

We also have a duty to ensure that the care provided in West Berkshire is of good quality, and that our care homes meet the requirements of the CQC.

What are we proposing?

To close Notrees Care Home by 1 December 2022. Residents and their families would be supported to relocate to one of our other care homes, or an alternative private service, as appropriate, and wherever possible, we'd redeploy existing staff to one of our remaining two care homes, reablement service or similar.    

Why this proposal is our preferred option

Changes to the needs of care home residents

The shape of demand for Adult Social Care has been changing over recent years, in part due to the impact of the pandemic on the needs of older people. Research, undertaken by Age UK, shows that there is a significant increase in the need for social care.

The need for 'ordinary' residential care is growing more slowly than other needs and there is significant market capacity in West Berkshire and nearby homes. Currently only 40% of care home beds in West Berkshire are for dementia needs and these are at over 90% capacity. While general residential places, which make up 30% of available places, are operating at only 78% capacity.

Since the pandemic, care home residents have become more dependent, have more complex needs, and increased demand for complex dementia care.

The pandemic has also affected older people's mental health, as the worry and stress, and lack of social contact has, for some, caused dementia to progress more quickly. Care homes are also being asked to help take some of the pressure off the NHS, by caring for those that are very sick and receiving end of life care.

It is also anticipated that more people who fund their own care will look to have carers in their own homes, until their needs become complex and nursing or advanced residential care is required.

In order for us to provide the type of care that residents need, taking the impact of the pandemic into consideration, we've reviewed our current care home services. West Berkshire is very constrained on meeting dementia needs, both residential and nursing. We're going to continue to run care homes for older people and invest in creating a large, specialist provision, in a central location accessible for staff and visitors, with the expectation that it would be open within the next five years.

We are therefore commissioning a feasibility study, to explore whether it would be better to build or to acquire a new facility and to help scope the configuration of the proposed new home to best meet the anticipated needs of residents.  

The last decade has seen greater integration of memory care into building design with adaptations to improve care for those with dementia and Alzheimer's. COVID-19 should have a similar legacy: new care homes will be built with wider corridors to help enable social distancing; larger rooms with en suite and wet room facilities as standard to promote resident isolation; adapted fixtures and fittings to limit touch points; and safer visitor areas with enhanced communication systems. They will also be expected to be designed to allow space for modern equipment and to include ample leisure and living facilities.

Type of care provided at Notrees

Notrees cares for people who are more able, and have less complex needs and, as part of a recent evaluation of our services carried out by our Market Management Lead, who has been monitoring the care home market, it was assessed as a facility that was seeing a reduction in the number of residents who wished to live there.

Location of Notrees

Notrees is situated in a relatively rural location in the village of Kintbury which impacts on recruitment of new staff, as well as demand for places for residents. There is currently a significant challenge to recruit and retain appropriate number of quality staff in the Adult Social Care sector. A combination of Covid burnout, competition from the NHS, reduced numbers of workers from the European Union and rising wages in other sectors is making it harder to find and retain the necessary staff. The rural setting and small size of the home create additional hurdles to these more general recruitment and retention challenges.

Although it is the only provision in the immediate vicinity, there are homes in Hungerford to the west and Newbury to the east that are within relatively easy reach.

Size and state of the building

Notrees has been assessed to be approaching the end of its life and would require around £400,000 to refurbish and maintain for another 5-7 years.

The home itself is relatively small, so may struggle to achieve levels of efficiency, especially with any tightening of Care Quality Commission regulations. Larger facilities can function effectively on smaller staffing ratios and purpose built homes will be designed to allow more room for social distancing, modern equipment, easier isolation of affected residents in cases of infection, fewer touch points and safer visitor areas.

We are responsible for ensuring that West Berkshire has good quality care provision, appropriately staffed, which will continue to meet the changing needs of our local population.

What do we think the impact will be and how we propose to address it?

Although we recognise that moving to another care home might be unsettling for some residents and their families, we believe that care home and adult social care staff will fully support and sensitively manage the move for individual residents and their families. We will work to understand each resident's priorities and preferences and will assist them and their families/carers to identify and secure an alternative, appropriate care placement.

All of our other care homes currently have multiple vacancies, and residents would be offered a place in one of these, in the first instance. However, there is also good availability in privately run care homes in the area at present, should residents and their families wish to consider an alternative move.

By retaining our permanent staff, where possible, we reduce our reliance on expensive agency staff, and ensure consistency and quality of care for residents. We'll therefore seek to redeploy staff in our other care homes or other services, however, there is a shortage of care staff across the sector locally and nationally.

Whilst this project is being undertaken we'll continue to make sure that our residents are well cared for and safe.

Icon for pdf Please refer to the Equality Impact Assessment for further information. [41KB]

Why we want your views

We would like to know how this proposal might impact you, if the decision is taken to proceed with the proposed closure, and any views you may have on how we can minimise the impact.

As part of this consultation, we will be speaking directly with current residents and their families, staff who are directly affected, and other local stakeholders, e.g. Healthwatch and Age UK Berkshire.

Your views will also be considered as part of our wider review of the market and care services in West Berkshire.

How to take part

If you'd like to comment on our proposal, please complete our survey by midnight on Wednesday, 8 June 2022, which should take about 10 minutes.

Please email Paul Coe, (Service Director Adult Social Care), if you have any questions about the survey.

For more information about our Adult Care Services, please visit our advice pages.

What happens next

We will consider all feedback received and submit a recommendation report to the Executive Meeting on Thursday, 22 September 2022.

Following this meeting, we will publish the results on this page, in the local media and let interested people know directly by letter or email. 

What you told us

115 people responded to the online consultation.

In addition to these responses, there were also separate submissions from Kintbury Parish Council, a Counter Proposal from the Registered Manager and petitions at and

Out of the total of 115 who responded to the online survey, 32 were a mix of residents, family members of residents or staff who worked at the home. Of these respondents, 33% disagreed with the proposal, and 57% strongly disagreed. Their main concerns were:
  • Having to move away from a small, friendly home to a much larger one, where staff didn’t know them.
  • That family members would not be able to visit so frequently.
  • The impact on the community that would result from the loss of the service.
  • The disruption and distress that a move would cause the residents.
  • That a different home may not have such a high quality of the service.
  • The impact both on those directly affected, and those who might want or need to use the service in the future.

What we did

As a result of the feedback received, the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care (Cllr Jo Stewart) informed Members of the Executive meeting on 7 July 2022, that the service had informed residents and staff that it would be recommending that no action be taken until officers had undertaken further work to explore the options available, and bring alternative recommendations forward in due course.

A report was prepared and submitted to the Executive Committee on 22 September 2022, recommending Notrees is retained and further work is carried out on a future plan for a sustainable operating model. In the meantime, Notrees will revert to normal business. The Committee agreed to this recommendation.

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