Councillors reaffirm commitment for new North Coast Care Facility project
29th October 2020
The Highland Council has reaffirmed its commitment to see a new North Coast Care Facility created to serve Sutherland and at today's meeting of the Highland Council members were given a progress update on the project.
Council officials have been working closely with colleagues in NHS Highland on a feasibility study for two options. The plans are currently being amended to incorporate learning and experience gained on the management of Covid-19 in care homes to ensure that the new design, as far as possible, minimises the impact of this or any other infectious outbreak on residents and staff.
Initially the feasibility study was for a new unit located on Council owned land in Tongue. However, the adjacent landowner (Wildland) had expressed some views on the proposed design and had engaged architects to review it. Wildland subsequently offered to take forward another option for a different site (owned by Church of Scotland) and for the building to be built by Wildland and leased to NHS. This potentially could be part of a larger hub development in Tongue, possibly including housing, community facilities and commercial units.
At the meeting today members agreed that an options appraisal of the possible build solution for a new facility is taken to the Health and Social Care Committee which takes place on Thursday 12 November with a recommendation sought which provides best value for money and progressing the new development in 2021 owing to the urgent requirement for the new facility. The solution recommended by this committee will then be brought back to Council on December 17th for debate and approval and to the NHS for their consideration.
The decision on which site the new facility will be built on will be subject to further negotiations.
Sutherland Councillor Linda Munro, Chair of the Council's Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee said: "A new care facility for the North Coast area is needed as a matter of urgency and never more so than in the face of Covid 19. It is essential that whatever emerges as the preferred option is fully supported from an operational and funding perspective and must incorporate the right facilities to future proof the build at the right price.
"A lot of work has been going on between the Council and NHS Highland staff to prepare the options appraisal and I would like to thank everyone involved for their valuable input.
She added: “Today the council reaffirmed its commitment to the project now we must make pace to commence this essential build and I look forward to receiving the options proposals at the 12th November Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee."
David Park, Chief Officer for the Highland Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "We welcome the reaffirmed commitment by the Highland Council and continue to work with them and community members to progress this important integrated redesign of local care services."