Bupa ends contract at Dunstable and Leighton care homes


Two care homes in Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard are set to return to council management from August after Bupa confirmed it would withdraw from its current contract.

The private healthcare group will run the Greenacre, Dunstable, and Westlands, Leighton Buzzard, residences until July 31.

Ridgeway Lodge in Dunstable was part of the same arrangements, but is owned by Bupa and will continue to be operated by them. Bupa, who first took control of the homes in 1998, intend to cease operating homes on behalf of others.

Seven homes will be affected in total. None meet modern registration standards and for this reason it would not be possible to source a new provider, according to a report by Councillor Carole Hegley, Central Bedfordshire Council executive member for social care, health and housing.

The council plans to transition to new-build residences over the next six years and had been seeking to negotiate a contract extension with Bupa on this basis. Now they will likely be forced to take on the homes’ management and staff themselves after receiving notice of Bupa’s decision to end the partnership.

Meetings have been held between the council and residents, relatives and staff members to advise them of the situation and hear their views.

Around 400 staff members will transfer on to the council’s payroll, but it is not expected that any loss will be incurred by taking direct control of the homes.

The £3.8 million remaining in the budget for the contract with Bupa in 2014-15 plus around £300,000 worth of income from privately funded residents is projected to cover the cost of the homes’ operation. Those privately funded residents will be charged the ‘full cost’ rate, which currently stands at £465.52 a week at Greenacre and £469.14 a week at Westlands.

Greenacre, in Brewers Hill Road, and Westlands, of Duncombe Drive, house 42 and 30 residents respectively in single rooms.

The seven homes returning to council management have a total capacity of 249 – 37% of the overall capacity of residential care home places in the local authority area – with 190 of their residents placed by Central Bedfordshire Council.