Derbyshire care home closures rubber stamped – as opposition acts to halt decision

Those in opposition to the decision to close seven Derbyshire care homes have taken steps to halt it.

By Christina Massey
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 5:55 pm

The fate of seven Derbyshire care homes was rubber stamped today (May 5), as Cabinet members approved plans for their closure – but the fight is far from over for opposition councillors.

The decision was made by Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet, as GMB campaigners gathered outside holding a placard up to the window displaying the names and photographs of each individual member, demanding their public accountability.

The controversial move by the county’s Conservative leadership has come under fire from residents and organisations alike, and protests were held outside County Hall today by GMB and Unison unions, as well as Labour, Lib Dems, The Socialist Workers Party and the Save Our NHS Group.

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Campaigners call to 'save Derbyshire care homes' outside County Hall

Prior to the meeting, a petition was handed into the council with 3,919 names on it opposing the closures and as soon as the decision was made both the Lib Dem Leader Ed Fordham, and Labour Leader Joan Dixon submitted requests on behalf of their respective parties for emergency meetings to allow full council to debate the issue.

The Lib Dems have called for the meeting to ‘condemn’ the decision made by Cabinet and ‘regret the direction of travel it establishes for care service provision’, while Labour called for a reversal of the decision and the implementation of ‘the majority group’s manifesto commitment to invest in providing new modern care homes before any home is closed’.

Furthermore, Councillor Fordham expressed the intention to call-in the decision to halt the process.

Initially, the authority said £27m was needed to carry out essential maintenance on the following homes –

The Spinney in Brimington

Ladycross House, Travers Road, Sandiacre Beechcroft, Nursery Avenue, West Hallam East Clune, West Street, Clowne Holmlea, Waverley Street, Tibshelf The Spinney, Landsdowne Road, Woodlands, Brimington Goyt Valley House, Jubilee Street, New Mills Gernon Manor, Dagnell Gardens, Bakewell

However more recently this figure has risen to £31m, with the council claiming the poor state of the homes has forced its hand and all residents must vacate the properties by September, regardless of the outcome of a public consultation in which 80 per cent of respondents expressed concern over the distress it would cause residents and relatives.

Speaking in the meeting, Coun Fordham asked Cabinet member for Adult Care Natalie Hoy whether the responses of the consultation had been taken into account.

She replied: “Any decision that affects people’s homes is a difficult decision to make, all responses and views have been taken into account.”

Coun Hoy chose to respond to a secondary question posed by Coun Fordham, in which asked about the future of the remaining 11 council-run care homes.

She commented that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss the remaining care homes and accused the Lib Dem of misleading the public by suggesting they could be under threat, calling him ‘nothing more than a headliner with ambitions of Westminster’.

Campaigners have argued closing the homes could lead to the deaths of some of their 65 elderly residents as a result of the stress of being moved.

However Cabinet member for Health and Communities Carol Hart condemned the claim as being ‘totally out of order’, arguing that if the move was handled well residents shouldn’t be badly affected.

The authority has offered to pick up the bill for residents relocating to suitable alternative accommodation at an estimated cost of £2.035m.