More than a dozen care home residents were transferred to other homes during the pandemic without any Covid-19 outbreaks.

That’s according to Cllr Joanne Stewart, West Berkshire Council’s executive member for adult social care, who said all the residents have been moved out of Walnut Close care home.

According to the council, the building in Thatcham, which is over 50 years old, does not provide many of the facilities that are available in modern care homes and it would need £150,000 of urgent repair work to remain open.

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In a bid to save £330,000 a year, the council decided to close the run-down care home and move the 17 residents and 25 full-time staff members to other care homes it runs – Birchwood Care Home in Newbury, Willows Edge in Newbury and Notrees Care Home in Hungerford.

The Conservative-run council said the pandemic “necessitated more urgent action” because there are no ensuite bathrooms at Walnut Close, so commodes were being used in people’s bedrooms and that was “not ideal for managing infection control”.

It stated that every resident would be tested before and after they were moved, and transfers would be suspended if there were any outbreaks.

Cllr Stewart said all the residents have been successfully transferred and most were sent to Birchwood Care Home in Newbury.

Cllr Joanne Stewart

Cllr Joanne Stewart

“We have had no outbreaks of Covid 19 in any of the West Berkshire Council homes since the residents were moved," she said.

"Birchwood did not get a second feared outbreak during the second national wave of the pandemic.

“As anticipated, some residents took a while to become accustomed to the layout in the new 'Walnut Unit' at Birchwood, however this has lessened over time.

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"We were able to isolate all residents in their cohort during the transfer which reduced the risk of any infection spread."

Ten of the residents have been provided with their own wing in Birchwood Care Home (Walnut Unit) and most of the members of staff from Walnut Close have been transferred to that home.

All of the staff have been redeployed by the council and no one has been made redundant.

During the pandemic, there have been 92 Covid-related deaths at care homes across West Berkshire, according to Public Health England.