The DHSC is continuing to develop its understanding of the need for social care across the island, almost one year since the Corrin’s Home closed in Peel.

It was announced in April last year that the home was going to close, with residents given notice to find a new home. Despite a lot of noise being made in Tynwald and on the election campaign, the home ultimately closed in July last year.

At the time, Tynwald passed, what was ultimately a meaningless motion, to say that the home would remain open for six months. This proved impossible as doing so would’ve seen it go into insolvency. 

During that sitting, Lib Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper (who now happens to be DHSC Minister) said it was ‘becoming more and more clear that we don’t have a national social care service and I think that is a huge gap that we have been quite negligent in not filling’.

Well, as this month marks one year since that debate, back in April we asked the DHSC what plans it had for care provision in the west of the island.

In response, a spokesperson told Gef: ‘The Department is keen to ensure the commitment to integrated care across the Isle of Man continues to be developed, directly by Manx Care but also strategically by the Department’s policies and commitment to the provision of right care, at the right time in the right place through the Mandate of Services to Manx Care.

‘The provision of residential and nursing care is a key workstream within the Health and Social Care transformation programme, and the Department will during 2022 develop a better understanding of the provision of need locally and nationally for the development of strategic planning activities to consider the medium and longer-term needs for residential and nursing care on the Isle of Man.’

Shorthand: We’re working on it.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Social Care?

During that Tynwald debate, which proved as successful as the band’s plan to move further up the Titanic to keep their violins dry, there was a mention of an almost forgotten Tynwald report from long, long ago. 2015, to be exact.

That report was written by a committee comprising of retired chairman Chris Robertshaw, retired MHK Peter Karran and the recently rehired Speaker Juan Watterson. 

That report had four recommendations:

Recommendation 1

That the Council of Ministers should investigate ways of exploiting service users’ capital assets as a source of funding for nursing and residential care, and report to Tynwald by June 2017.

Recommendation 2

That a separate fund should be established to support the funding of nursing and residential care.

Recommendation 3

That consideration should be given to placing the new fund in the hands of a group of independent trustees.

Recommendation 4

That an income stream for the new care home fund should be identified in the context of the wider social security reform agenda.

However, following an amendment by former DHSC minister Kate Costain, the motion which passed was: 

‘That the Council of Ministers should further consider equity release for persons required to contribute to the costs of their care and should investigate the establishment of a nursing and residential care fund, before reporting on:

• equity release for persons required to contribute to the costs of their care;

• the benefits and costs of the proposed fund;

• the funding of the proposed fund;

• the governance of the proposed fund; and,

• the criteria which could be used to determine who might receive support from the proposed fund.

Furthermore, that the Council of Ministers should make an interim report to Tynwald by July 2017 and a final report by July 2018.’

Unfortunately, there has been little in the way of major developments since then aside from the building of a replacement care home in Douglas.

In 2020, Tynwald did commit to building the new £12m care home on the site of the former Glenside home at the top of Victoria Road in Douglas. The new home, Summerhill View, will replace Reayrt ny Baie in Douglas.