Changes at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald

Anglican Care has decided in principle on a gradual wind down of its Bishopspark and Fitzgerald complexes. No new residents will move in to Bishopspark or Fitzgerald and both sites will continue to operate with their existing residents.

Bishopspark, opposite Hagley Park, and Fitzgerald in Avonside provide independent living and rest home care; while Fitzgerald also offers hospital and dementia care.

A third Anglican Care complex, Churchill Courts, was demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes.

“We started residential care an incredible 66 years ago when we saw a need that no-one else was meeting for the most vulnerable in our community,” says Moka Ritchie, chair of the Anglican Care Trust Board which runs the two complexes through its Anglican Living division.

“Since then the aged care sector has matured and grown exponentially, with commercial operators now delivering more highly specified units and a wider range of services than we can provide.

“Their scale means they can also offer their services much more cost effectively.

“We’ve been losing money and subsidising our residential care from Anglican Care general funds for many years and that can’t continue indefinitely. The earthquakes also dealt us further blows, with significant damage making some of our buildings uneconomic to repair.

“This combination of factors led to the decision we are better to leave residential care of the elderly to businesses specialising in this while we focus our efforts on other areas where we can serve the elderly in our communities,” says Moka Ritchie.

With a rapidly ageing population and more and more people wanting to remain in their own homes as long as possible, Anglican Care is exploring how it can help strengthen community based care for older people and reduce the impacts of social isolation experienced by many older people. Options include increasing the number of community drop in centres the Church already operates. Anglican Care is also exploring partnerships to provide social housing.

Anglican Living approached other providers it believed might be interested in taking over its complexes and continuing to run them as a going concern; but the feedback received was that too much work was needed to bring the buildings up to market standards for residential care of the elderly.

“We are still keen to find a buyer for either or both sites as going concerns,” says Moka Ritchie.

“In the meantime we are committed to the wellbeing of our residents and staff and will meet all our obligations to them.”

Residents of the Bishopspark and Fitzgerald complexes who occupy independent living units under an occupational rights agreement (ORA) have the right to remain in their unit unless the resident chooses to terminate the agreement and move elsewhere.

Residents with ORAs will not be asked to leave, or have to leave their village unless they want to. It is likely the complexes will slowly wind down over a period of years as residents with ORAs relinquish these agreements.

Anglican Living will work closely with the residents to ensure the sites and the services they offer are maintained throughout.

Anglican Living will work closely with the Canterbury DHB to support Bishopspark and Fitzgerald residents and their families if they wish to find placements in alternative facilities.

“We appreciate the complexity of that task and the impact on our residents and staff. We will continue to care for those residents while we work through this with the Canterbury DHB,” says Moka Ritchie.

The complexes will continue to operate around the needs of the residents so at this stage it is not possible to put a timeframe on how long this will continue. We expect this to become clearer once Anglican Care has spoken with residents and staff.

“We know this will be a challenging time for our residents and staff.

“Anglican Care will continue to provide the same quality of care to all residents at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald through this extended transition period. This includes rest home residents at Bishopspark and hospital residents at Fitzgerald.”

For more information:

If you have a query about how the changes will affect your family member, please speak to the manager of the complex.  You (or your family members) can also email questions directly to support@anglicanliving.org.nz or call us on 0800 420 422 to leave a message with your name, contact details and questions.  We will get back to you with answers.