Fury at decision to close care homes

Four Derbyshire care homes and a respite unit will close their doors after the ‘unwelcome decision’ was made at a council cabinet meeting this week.

Residents are set to face upheaval and jobs are at risk at The Willows in Ripley, The Glebe in Alfreton, Red House in Stonegravels and Hilcrest, Kirk Hallam. Respite unit Ecclesfold Resource Centre in Chapel-en-le-Frith will no longer provide the current six short-term respite care beds.

Around 78 residents will be affected by the move which is part of the authority’s adult care provision revamp.

Campaigners stormed the meeting held at County Hall in Matlock on Tuesday, demanding to know what alternative provisions were in place and why such a lengthy consultation period took place if closure was imminent.

Save Red House campaigner Penny Brummell said: “We’re very disappointed by the decision. I hope that this trend doesn’t continue because vulnerable people will face mortality because of this decision.”

But council bosses were quick to reassure the public that the decision was not one which was taken lightly, and all involved would be supported through every step of the process.

Council leader councillor Anne Western said: “These are difficult times financially, we are still facing unprecedented cuts – we’re stuck between a rock and hard place.”

Deputy council leader and cabinet member for adult social care councillor Paul Smith, added: “We have taken the consultation period very seriously for recommendation put before the council today – I have had many sleepless nights worrying about what will happen.

“In 2012, all homes across the region except four were facing closure but we have managed to retain 18, which is positive. We will be losing 160 beds, but it is important to highlight there will still be 639 across the region.

“The continuing care of residents is extremely important to us, it’s not just about finance.

“No closures will take place until we have revisited and discussed alternative options. We understand why there has been such a strong reaction to the closures – these are people’s homes.

“But we will help guide them through the process and help advise them on their options for the future. I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work and professionalism throughout this time.”

It is estimated closures will take within six to nine months.