The States of Guernsey has agreed to take over the running of one of the island's residential care homes to ensure it can stay open, and care for its residents to the standards they need and expect.
St Johns, in the grounds of Saumarez Park, is home to a maximum of 45 residents who require either residential or nursing care.
Having opened in 1948, it is likely one of the longest running care homes open in the island today.
It has been run until now as a registered charity and its ethos is stated as:
"...to provide appropriate and individualised care for each resident. Particular attention is paid to providing an extremely high standard of personalised care with choice, rights and wishes all taken into account. Staff are encouraged to use general socialising skills at all times and one to-one interaction is very important to our residents."
Pictured: St John's is within the grounds of Saumarez Park.
Recently, "difficult" decisions are said to have been made, with the St John's Board agreeing with the Health and Social Care committee that it will relinquish responsibility for running the home from the new year.
It has been described as a joint decision made after "a joint effort to ensure the long-term future of St John’s Residential Home".
The home's directors said "this agreement has been reached following a difficult decision" and that it was made "with the sole focus of all concerned being ensuring the continuation of the care it provides its residents and the Home’s value to the island as a whole given the well-publicised need for care homes".
The change of ownership will take effect from 1 January 2023. All staff are being offered the chance to be re-employed by the States. HSC says for many staff this will mean "improved terms of conditions".
St John’s Operations and Care Home Manager and Clinical Lead have both been involved in discussions and confirmed they will remain in post.
The Board of St John's and HSC said this was seen as important because it "ensures continuity for residents and families around the care they receive".
Residents and their families have been told of the news prior to the public announcement this morning, and they were assured that "in practice" they will see "very little change as a result in the transfer of responsibility for running the Home".
Colin Pickard, Chairman of the St John’s Residential Home Board, said it had been a "heartbreaking decision" for he, his wife and fellow board member, to make but he is sure it is the "right decision" for everyone connected with the home.
Pictured: Residents and staff were top of the priority list in discussions between St John's and the States.
"This decision was very much made with a heavy heart on a personal level, but one that provides me, my wife Suzanne and fellow board member Nick McCathie with new-found hope and comfort for the future of St John’s Residential Home," he said.
"We are reassured that the change in ownership will result in very little change to the actual running of the home and most importantly to the care residents receive."
That has been the utmost priority Mr Pickard said, along with looking after the staff.
"I want to thank all our hard-working staff. This has been a very difficult decision for us to make but our absolute focus has been on securing the long-term future of the Home and, while heart-breaking for us to step aside, we know it is the right decision for the Home, its staff and importantly its residents."
Jason Moriarty, States of Guernsey Chief Operating Officer, said States staff will help Mr and Mrs Pickard and Mr McCathie over the coming weeks, with residents and staff their top priority too.
"I’d like to thank Colin and Suzanne for their commitment to ensuring the long-term stability of the Home, which has been their focus throughout discussions.
"Working with them we have begun the process of engaging with staff, residents and their families to reassure them that very little will change from their respective perspectives.
"We are delighted that the Home’s Operations and Care Home Manager and Clinical Lead are working with us and will remain in post, as this will ensure that the level and style of care delivery will remain consistent for residents, which is a key priority for us."
Pictured: Deputy Al Brouard is President of HSC.
Deputy Al Brouard, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, said his committee, the Committee for Employment and Social Security and the Policy and Resources Committee all agreed this was the right decision for the island, primarily based on the need for extra care housing options for older residents.
"It is rare that an issue generates the widespread support from three different political Committees but the decision to take over the running of St John Residential Home, to secure its long-term operations, was one such example.
"It is a well established fact that the island needs good quality care homes and increasingly so in the years ahead. This agreement ensures a continuation of care for residents, security for staff and maintains an important residential home for the community as a whole."
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