Devon nursing-home owners in fresh talks

28 Jun 01
Nursing-home owners in Devon are having a crisis meeting with the new leaders of the county council in a last-ditch attempt to solve their bitter dispute over fees.

29 June 2001

The owners have suspended plans to tear up their contracts with the authority, after the local elections on June 7 led to the Liberal Democrats losing power and the council becoming hung.

The meeting on June 29 is with Conservative group leader Christine Channon, who is likely to be named Devon's leader after her party became the largest group.

But the protesters, who own more than 50 of the county's 160 nursing homes, have already warned that if they cannot reach an agreement at the meeting they will go ahead and cancel their contracts.

Mike Austin, vice-chair of the Registered Nursing Home Association in Devon, claimed that members' attitudes were hardening. 'We accept the council's financial situation, now they must accept ours,' he said. 'Our members are saying that frankly we've got nothing to lose.'

Devon pays £330 a week for the 4,000 elderly people it supports. It is offering owners £342 for existing residents and £360 for new residents, with supplements of up to £20 available in areas with staff shortages.

But home owners are demanding the increases for new residents be applied across the board.


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