PROPOSALS to build a 198-bedroom care home on St Asaph Business Park have been put forward.

The applicant behind the plans is Dylan Southern of Star Units Ltd. Mr Southern is a retired general and psychiatric nurse who has worked at executive board level in the NHS and private sectors. He works alongside Dr Simon Dobson who has been a GP in the locality for more than 25 years.

The care home would feature 198 ensuite-bedrooms and its focus would be reablement.

It aims to cater for people hoping to return home after a period of ill health but will also offer complex dementia nursing care.

It will also care for people who are reaching the end of their natural lives, who cannot be cared for in the community or other care homes.

The bedrooms will be sized to ensure both a double or single bed can fit and will contain equipment required for care needs.

A report - prepared by Caulmert Ltd, the agent acting on behalf Star Units Ltd - said: “The care home has been split into three distinct ‘blocks’.

It said: “It is proposed that each block will care for different types of resident dependant on their needs. These services include reablement care, dementia care, end of life care together with general care for people who do not necessarily require hospital care but currently attend hospital as there are no alternatives within the area.

“All the facilities within the care home have been designed to mimic those services available within the wider community; café, retail, medical etc and are all standalone facilities within the care home designed to be visited by the residents in order for them to either have some form of continuance within their life or as part of their reablement care and simulation whilst resident within the care home.

“The care home has been designed to be a standalone facility designed entirely around the resident’s reablement and care.”

There is concerns about the size of the build.

Rhyl Journal:

Eamonn Jessup, locum GP

In a consultation response, Dr Phil White, secretary and chief executive officer, North Wales local Medical Committee, asked if the facility should be branded as a hospital rather than a care home facility?

A letter signed by Mr White stated: “We believe that Health Inspectorate Wales should be asked to classify this development as we feel, given its scale and nature, this should be considered as a hospital.”

Prestatyn’s Eamonn Jessup, locum GP who is part of the Local Medical Committee, said: “This is a complex situation, even for those with a direct interest.

“The concept of a reablement unit is excellent especially in an area of high illness and elderly patients such as in the middle of North Wales and is a badly needed resource.

“The issues here are relating to the size of this unit.

“A 198-bed unit is huge I am hard pressed to think of another unit in a care home category in North Wales of this size.

“Then there is the issue of what type of patients they are seeking to treat, rehabilitation, reablement, dementia, mental illness patients all seem to be possible entrants to this unit.

“The first issue needing assessment is whether this is a care home or hospital from the level of care the patients will need.

“The Local Medical Committee have asked that a formal decision is reached with the assistance of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) to determine which type of institution this actually is intended to be.

“The size of this unit and the spread of patients it intends to take would make me feel it is a better fit as a hospital than a care home though I have to say.

“If it is a hospital then there is the complexity of whether it is private or public, and how it arranges it’s medical cover 24 hours, seven-days-a-week.

“I’m afraid at the moment there are more questions than answers.”

Dr James Davies, North Wales GP, said: “Reablement has long been important in assisting the disabled and those who are frail or recovering from illness or injury. Typically this has been offered in defined or limited situations.

"The approach being proposed at St Asaph is unique in terms of its prime aim being reablement and promotion of independence for all. I am advised it has been successfully piloted in Nottingham and Mid Wales.

“Such a development would provide facilities light years ahead of what currently exists and in my view, could give local health and social services a chance to bounce back onto a sustainable footing.

“I have worked with Dr Simon Dobson at Clarence Medical Centre. He has been a GP for well over two decades in Rhyl and must be better placed than most to develop solutions for the very severe challenges facing Glan Clwyd Hospital and local GP practices.

“Dylan Southern is also based locally and has experience of developing such buildings and services. I am aware that they have been working on this project for two and a half years.

“I welcome their fresh thinking at a time when the Local Health Board enters its fifth year of Welsh Government “special measures” with little sign of progress.Star Units first presented me with an embryonic version of their plans a couple of years ago.

“I believe that their development would begin to tackle bed blocking and flow issues at Glan Clwyd Hospital and help maintain patients’ independence.

“I hope that they secure widespread support for this well designed and much needed development as it enters the planning process.”

North Wales local Medical Committee have asked the applicants to address the following points:

- Who shall be funding these placements?

- That a full impact assessment be undertaken on the effects of such a development on the already stretched Out of Hours service in the area.

- That a full impact assessment be undertaken on the effects of such a development on existing psychiatric and palliative care services.

- An estimate as to how many patients will arrive from outside the health board area.