Campaigner says Derbyshire care home residents will die, following council’s closure annoucement

‘Elderly residents will die’ is the blunt message of a campaigner following the news the council is forging ahead with plans to close seven Derbyshire care homes.

By Christina Massey
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 11:57 am

Councillor Ed Fordham was one of many members of Derbyshire County Council across all political parties who opposed the authority’s proposal to close the homes, helping to circulate a petition that collected more than 2,000 signatures.

However campaigners’ hopes to save the homes have been dashed, as the authority revealed Cabinet members plan to vote in favour of the closures in a meeting next Thursday (May 5).

Coun Fordham, Leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “This report is a death nail for a number of care homes.

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Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet is set to approve controversial care home closure plans in a meeting next week.

“The most critical thing that must lie on the conscience of the council is that we know in closing these care homes we will kill these residents as well.

“They are too old and frail to be moved.”

In an interview with the Local Democracy Reporting Service Councillor Natalie Hoy, Cabinet member for Adult Care, maintained that the outcome of the consultation was open and people’s views would be taken into account.

However shortly after the consultation was launched, the council announced residents would have to be moved out by September regardless of its outcome as the homes were in such poor condition that ‘invasive work’ needed to be carried out upon them.

Coun Fordham commented: “The Tory county council were less believable than Boris was on parties.”

Dr Joan Dixon, Leader of the Labour group, said many elderly residents and their families felt ‘betrayed’ by the move, stating that the Conservative group had ‘broken a promise made before the election’, referring to comments made by both Coun Hoy and Conservative Leader Barry Lewis that ‘no care home would close without having a new one to replace it’.

She added: “They have purposely run these homes down and are using the cost of refurbishment as a smoke screen to justify their real intentions.

“The Conservatives are driven by an ideological belief that the county council should not be a direct provider of services.

“This will not be the end of the matter and other homes will be targeted in the future.

“And if these closures go ahead it may mean the Derbyshire taxpayer will end up paying more in the long run.”

She pointed out that the next service being ‘targeted’ by leadership was the county-run day care provision for adults with learning disabilities.

“The elderly and most vulnerable people in Derbyshire are being abandoned,” Dr Dixon concluded.