Saturday, 22 September 2018

Care home bidding to be mental health hospital

A CARE home for the elderly which took on young residents without planning permission is seeking to become a private mental health hospital

A CARE home for the elderly which took on young residents without planning permission is seeking to become a private mental health hospital.

Earlier this year, the Apple Hill Nursing Home in Hurley was rapped after it was found to be looking after people as young as 27.

It only has permission for patients aged 65 or over but admitted half of its 30 residents were younger following an investigation in April.

Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council considered legal action but held back so that owners Henley Healthcare could submit a retrospective application. This will be decided on in the next month.

The company wants to expand the home’s remit so it also serves as a community hospital for people with mental health problems, including those sectioned under the Mental Health Act as long as it is not in connection with a crime. The home would continue to care for elderly people who suffer from mental health problems or dementia.

In a statement to the council, Henley Healthcare said: “Mental health conditions frequently give rise to stigma and fears in the public’s perceptions. If the unjustified fear of crime or antisocial behaviour which might well be repeated at any potential location were considered to have substance, it would be very difficult to identify locations to meet the acknowledged need for mental health hospital accommodation.

“A process of dialogue, discussion, communication and scrutiny of the proposed use has started with Hurley and Bisham parish pouncils and the local community. ”

Similar plans were put forward in 2009 by Apple Hill’s previous owner Eastwick Holdings, although these included treatment for drug and alcohol addicts. They were turned down amid opposition from residents and Maidenhead MP Theresa May. The two parish councils are both opposed to the latest plans, as have a number of villagers.

A borough council spokesman said: “Counsel’s advice is that to continue with the enforcement action ahead of any planning decision is unlikely to be successful.

“Further information needed for the action will become available through the planning process and, should it become necessary, enforcement action would have a higher degree of success afterwards. This does not mean the borough has abandoned plans for enforcement.”

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