An extra 39 beds for people with dementia will be available in the borough after Richmond Council renegotiated a care contract.

The council’s 25-year contract with Care UK was amended to provide the extra beds to address the rise in people with dementia and growing demand for specialist care.

The contract was set up in 2001 for the provision of residential and nursing care in three care homes in the borough – Laurel Dene, White Farm Lodge and Greville House.

The original contract allocated 195 beds for vulnerable residents, which were not to be used by people with dementia, but many of these were left empty when the council shifted its emphasis to providing services that help people stay in their own home.

Meanwhile, a rise in the number of people needing specialist residential or nursing dementia care meant the council had to get extra beds for these people in other care homes, sometimes outside the borough.

Councillor David Marlow, cabinet member for adult services and housing, said: “This change to the Care UK contract will mean that aside from the council no longer paying for beds that it doesn’t need, we are going to provide a service to those who really need it. And importantly – close to their home.”

The council said better use of the beds and other changes within the contract resulted in an initial saving of up to £0.5m per annum with potential longer term savings in the order of £1m per year.

Richard Seabrook, Care UK service development officer, said: “This change to our long standing contract with the council demonstrates our commitment to provide high quality flexible person-centred services which respond to need as well as providing these services efficiently to the benefit of all parties.”