Long-awaited plans to replace a “substandard” facility for islanders with some of the most complex learning disability needs have finally been put forward, years after its safety first came under scrutiny.
According to plans submitted Part of over-65s mental health facility Rosewood House is due to be converted to replace Aviemore, a five-unit specialist accommodation facility neighbouring Haut de la Garenne for people “with learning disabilities who have the most complex needs and are in crisis”.
In 2019, Express learned that the site operated by the Government's Special Needs Service had been slapped with three orders by the three orders by the Health and Safety Inspectorate relating to a substantial lack of written policy or procedure in protecting employees from "violent or aggressive incidents" from clients.
The following year, it was acknowledged in the Government Plan that the facility itself was proving a barrier against providing “appropriate and safe care, as well as providing a safe working environment for the staff” and a process to decommission it and find a replacement began.
Today, the Government’s property management wing has finally submitted plans to “replace the former accommodation on the Aviemore site” by converting Maple Ward at over-65s mental health facility Rosewood House, on the St. Saviour’s Hospital site.
“The proposal is to convert the existing Rosewood House South Wing (Maple Ward) into five accommodation units for people with learning disabilities and associated staff accommodation,” a statement submitted as part of the planning application said.
“The new units better meet the needs and improve the environment of the people who were previously in substandard accommodation on a different site.
“The units are not permanent homes and are part of the Clinique Pinel and Rosewood House health facility.
“To form the new units, it is necessary to form five small extensions to Rosewood House.”
It adds that each unit will benefit from a “small secure” garden, and that more parking will be added.
This, the application says, would create a “calming environment that enhances the needs and standard of living of the residents.”
A previous Government Plan budgeted £9.3m for updating the available specialist accommodation for islanders with learning disabilities. It noed: “The nature of the existing building means it cannot be fully occupied and private sector accommodation must be sought to meet the needs of individuals.
“The replacement facility will allow the service to be provided in an appropriate and safe environment, in line with the Regulation of Care Law 2014, and give a cost saving through the reduction in the use of private sector accommodation.”
Last year, struggling to meet the needs of one service user, the Government last year were forced to purchase a property in St. Saviour for £995,000 to provide bespoke accommodation.
Andy Weir, Director of Mental Health and Adult Social Care, told Express: "We have submitted plans to create five permanent living units for people with a learning disability and/or autism, who require intensive support, particularly in relation to behaviours that challenge.
"The aim is to create a modern, bespoke living environment which will safely manage these Islanders' needs while also optimising opportunities for their independence. The length of time a person stays in the unit will depend upon their individual needs."
Pictured: Director of Mental Health, Andy Weir.
He declined to reveal the budget for the project.
"If the planning application is successful, the new units will replace the current Aviemore facility which, as it is no longer fit for purpose, is due to close by the end of the year. Detailed design work is ongoing on the plans. It is anticipated that the project will go out to tender in early January next year.
"Due to commercial sensitivities we will not be disclosing the budget for the project at this time."
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