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Major step forward in programme to provide suitable services for older people

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Department of Social Care is pleased to announce progress in three key elements of its programme to provide a wider range of services for older people, ranging from home-based care to specialist residential care, all of which are designed to meet the evolving needs of our community while still offering best value for money. 

Firstly, the Gansey unit of Southlands Resource Centre in Port Erin for older people (which was closed temporarily last month due to a shortage of specialist staff) will re-open in October. In addition, the Surby unit of Southlands will open in October, providing additional bed capacity in the South of the Island.

Secondly, the closure of the Glenside Resource Centre in Douglas for older people (which the Department announced in February would close) has progressed extremely well such that the Department is confident it will now close by Easter next year.

Finally, the new resource centre for older people in the North of the Island (called Reayrt Skyal) is now complete and will open in the next few months. This will enable residents from the North to be transferred into this excellent new specialist facility.

The Minister for Social Care Hon Chris Robertshaw MHK stated:

'I am extremely pleased and encouraged with the progress my Department is making in improving our services for older people on the Island. We have made great progress in recruiting specialist staff such that we are confident Gansey will re-open next month. We will also be opening the Surby unit in Southlands in October, which has been the desire of many in the South for some years. As a result, we will soon be providing a bigger and better service in the South than ever before.

I am also very pleased with the progress we have made with regard to closing Glenside. Closing such a large residential home is a complex task and requires great care. The support and co-operation of families, coupled with the commitment and dedication of the staff and social workers, has seen this process gain a solid momentum. I wish to sincerely thank the families and staff for ensuring it has been a relatively positive process as this in turn has resulted in minimising the disruption to the residents. I am now confident that all residents will have been found suitable alternative accommodation by next Easter. I am also very relieved that the large majority of staff have already been found suitable alternative employment.

Finally, I can confirm that Reayrt Skyal (which is the new older people’s resource centre in the North of the Island) will open soon. May I thank the residents and their families who were re-located from Ramsey to Douglas for their patience while we completed the construction of this new facility.

These are major achievements in what is my Department’s wider programme to deliver more diverse, modern and effective services for older people on the Island.'


Staff grading issues have now been resolved, removing an obstacle to recruitment. Permanent and agency staff are being recruited and interviews for bank care staff continue. As a result, the Department is finalising its plans to re-open the Gansey unit in October.

Part of the remit of the programme was to increase capacity in areas where residential beds are in short supply. In response to this, and as part of the process, Surby Unit in Southlands Resource Centre will start to open beds in October this year. Initially 6 beds will open with the intention that the remaining 12 beds will be open by the end of the year.

The decision to close Glenside came about for a number of reasons - the premises do not meet modern standards; it would cost many millions of pounds to replace; there is already a good range of residential care in the East of the Island; and finally the Department needs to provide a wider range of care services including home care services that enable more older people to remain in their own homes for longer, which is both the preference of the large majority of people as well as being less costly.

Since the decision was announced the Department has worked closely with residents and their families to ensure their care needs continue to be met appropriately and also with staff and unions to ensure staff have been provided with suitable alternative employment opportunities.

Of the 57 residents residing in Glenside in February, many preferred the option to move to Reayrt ny Baie Resource Centre in Douglas and in many cases the Department was able to make that possible. 12 residents moved to Reayrt ny Baie in August this year. Other residents took the opportunity to move to other accommodation that better suited their specific needs including being closer to relatives and friends. 22 residents now remain. 16 of these remaining residents will be transferring to Thie Meanagh with the move of Sweetbriar Unit there in the near future. Thie Meanagh is a purpose built facility that will provide excellent accommodation. The Department’s social workers will continue to help the remaining 6 residents find suitable accommodation for their needs over the coming months.

There are currently 6 Glenside staff who have not yet found new jobs and the Department is confident it is likely to find suitable opportunities for most if not all of them prior to Glenside’s closure.

Due to the speed and efficiency of the programme, the cooperation of residents, families and staff, as well the adherence to best practice, the Department expects that Glenside Resource Centre will be fully closed by Easter 2013.

Reayrt Skyal is the new older people’s resource centre in Ramsey. It will specialise in providing Elderly Mentally Infirm care. It will provide 12 continuing care beds and 4 short term care (respite) beds plus a day service that can accommodate up to 15 people. It replaces the facilities formerly based in Gardner House at Ramsey District Cottage Hospital. The Department hopes that Reayrt Skyal will open before the end of the year, subject to final confirmation with the families and the weather.

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