Councillors demand formal halt to consultation over Derbyshire care homes closure
Councillors from all political parties have banded together to formally halt a consultation over the potential closure of seven care homes for the elderly across Derbyshire.
Members from Derbyshire County Council’s Liberal Democrat, Labour, Conservative and Green parties have signed a ‘call-in’ document, which once presented to the authority, demands further scrutiny over the decision made by the authority’s Tory cabinet on Thursday (November 18) to proceed with a consultation over the future of care homes.
The move is led by Lib Dem leader Councillor Ed Fordham, who has signed the document alongside councillors Barry Bingham, Gez Kinsella, Joan Dixon, Paul Niblock, Sue Burfoot, Anne Clarke, Nigel Gourlay and Anne Hayes.
It comes as the authority weighs up whether to spend £27million on repairs to the homes in Brimington, Bakewell, Sandiacre, West Hallam, Clowne, New Mills and Tibshelf or close them and relocate their elderly residents to ‘alternative suitable accommodation’.
Coun Fordham said: “I led the calling-in because it’s the wrong decision at the wrong time for the wrong people.
“These are elderly and vulnerable people and they deserve better from us as we emerge from a pandemic.
“It’s not fair and it’s not right.”
There was public outcry last year when the authority initially proposed closing the homes and more than 9,000 people signed a petition to save them.
The council gave the homes a stay of execution in June 2020, but announced earlier this month that the homes were once again under threat.
The councillors stated their principle objections to the consultation are as follows –
It does not significantly differ from the previous consultation It will cause real stress, fear and worry to an already vulnerable group of residents The report does not address the information contained in previous reports on the viability of the homes Consultation with councillors, where the care homes has residents and associated relatives interested in the care homes, have been non-existent or cursory They are yet to see the final Market Position Statement and to take account of the viability of the PVI sector following the impact of the pandemic and of the 2022/23 financial settlement on the sector.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “If we receive a compliant call-in notice before the expiry of the call-in period, then that would cause a delay to the consultation whilst the call-in procedure is followed as part of the normal democratic process.”