Union leaders slam council over more proposed Derbyshire care cuts

Union leaders are questioning why the council is ‘set to get rid of Derbyshire’s care system’, as county bosses consider closing more community services.

By Christina Massey, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 4:25 pm
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 11:54 am

Just as the public consultation over the potential closure of seven care homes has drawn to a close, Derbyshire County Council is due to launch another consultation, which proposes shutting down eight adult day centres for people with learning disabilities, this Monday, March 28.

Mick Coppin, of GMB union, which represents many care workers employed by the authority, commented: “Derbyshire’s network of day centres are a lifeline to some of Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents and families.

“The workers who deliver these services kept the county running throughout the pandemic, only to be rewarded like this.”

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Derbyshire County Council is due to launch a consultation, which proposes shutting down eight adult day centres for people with learning disabilities,

He added that the proposed closures would be ‘devastating’ to many and ‘fly in the face of the council’s commitment to provide quality services to local people’.

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Mr Coppin concluded: “Derbyshire’s council provided care system is an asset to the people of Derbyshire, so why are Barry Lewis and the Conservative county councillors in charge so set on getting rid of it?”

The union is also calling for the authority to urgently publish the findings of its most recent consultation in the potential closure of care homes for the elderly, to give residents, families and workers peace of mind.

There was public outcry when the authority initially proposed closing care homes, saying in order to make them fit for purpose major repairs were needed, including replacing boilers, heating systems, refitting kitchens and bathrooms, roofing works and installing sprinkler systems.

Finbar Bowie, a GMB union organiser, said: “The stress levels of our care staff is dangerously high in these care homes.

“This could easily be avoided.

“Their consultation into care home closures could wait and care workers could be left to do their job.

“People across Derbyshire are asking this of Derbyshire County Council – why are local people being kept in the dark on care home closures?

“Voters and council tax payers in Derbyshire know it’s time for investment in our care system, not unnecessary closures.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said a report on the care homes consultation was expected to be presented to Cabinet on the provisional date of May 5.

They maintained: “No decisions will be taken about the future of some of the county council’s care homes until all the responses received as part of the consultation have been reviewed and taken into account.”

In relation to the consultation over day centres, the spokesman added: “No decisions will be taken about any of those services until we’d heard people’s views and we’d encourage as many people as possible to have their say when the consultation launches.”

If approved services at the following would cease – Ashbourne and Waltham (Derbyshire Dales), Oxcroft (Bolsover) and Renishaw (North East Derbyshire), Whitemoor (Amber Valley), Coal Aston (North East Derbyshire), Carter Lane and Whitwell (both in Bolsover) and Newhall Day Centre (South Derbyshire).

Services would be consolidated at Alderbrook (High Peak), No Limits (Chesterfield), Outlook (Erewash) and Parkwood (Amber Valley).