THE Church of England Pensions Board announced last week that it would close Manormead Nursing Home, in Surrey.
The chairman of the Pensions Board, Jonathan Spencer, said that it was a “heartbreaking decision to make” after more than 60 years of providing care. “However, the safety and well-being of our residents is paramount, and we will not compromise that in any way.”
The home serves clergy and their spouses, and includes two dementia wings (Features, 12 August). It had become “increasingly difficult” to recruit nursing and care staff, Mr Spencer said. “We are now reaching the point where we will be unable to staff the home in a way which meets the needs of our residents, and minimises the risks to them and others.” The increasing reliance on agency staff was “not sustainable”.
Manormead is the only C of E home with dedicated dementia care. Mr Spencer said that the Board would work closely with residents and families over the coming months. The supported housing at Manormead, opened in 2008, and the other six supported housing schemes are to remain open.
The Vicar of Hindhead and Churt, the Revd Richard Bodle, who serves as chaplain to the Manormead community, said this week that he was “shocked and saddened” by the decision. He described it as “an extraordinary situation in an ageing society and with an increasing need to provide for those with dementia”.
He questioned whether residents would be able to find the same “vital spiritual care” in their new homes (Features, 13 August 2010), and whether recruitment challenges justified a “drastic and final step. . . I assume that on this basis every other care home in my parish will be closing, too.
“The residents at Manormead have faithfully served the Church of England for many years, and there will be others to come. What message does this send to them and to our society, when these vulnerable men and women cannot be cared for by the Church?”