HOME healthcare for recovering patients will be provided 24 hours a day after a £600,000 investment.

A council revamp of healthcare provision — including the closure of Firwood House care home — has freed up money for the service, with additional funding from NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The £616,000 joint investment from the council and the NHS is expected to be given the go-ahead at a cabinet meeting on April 14.

Currently, these home care services are only available between 7am and 10pm but, from September, this would be extended to run around the clock.

Bolton Council would be able to provide 1,852 “reablement” home care packages — which help patients and their families after they are discharged from hospital — a 32 per cent increase on the 1,263 it currently offers.

The council has maintained, since plans to revamp care provision were announced, that the changes are not “cost-cutting” measures and will improve the delivery of intermediate and respite care in the borough.

Winifred Kettle in Westhoughton is losing its 18 intermediate beds and six respite beds to become a day-care only facility, with its patients transferred to Laburnum Lodge and Wilfred Geere in Farnworth.

Firwood is to be closed later this summer, with intermediate care to move to Laburnum Lodge and Darley Court, with its day-care moved to the Thicketford Centre in Horwich.

Alderbank will still lose its intermediate care beds by May, but its day-care services will stay for the time being, as plans to move them to Great Lever Park Lodge have been shelved as the latter location is not deemed big enough.

The council buys respite care for 400 people every year from 34 private care homes and says the availability of respite care will not be affected by the proposed changes.

Concerns had been raised that home-based care was “too impersonal”, but Margaret Asquith, director of adult services at the council, said: “This is intensive care provided in the short-term so, where possible, a stable group of carers will be used throughout to minimise stress for patients.

“This move will essentially allow us to bring in a night-visiting service.

“The care available will not be the same as during the day, but people will have 24-hour access to help in their own homes.”

The report says that extra resources will allow the home care service to increase hours as well as the quality offered.

The council also insisted that where it is not practical for patients to receive care at home, they will still be directed to a care facility.