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Care home closures causes strong reaction from councillors

A Conservative councillor strongly opposes vote to close a care home, among 11 which could be shut by his party’s administration.

Cllr Nigel Gourlay, who represents the Chapel and Hope Valley division on Derbyshire County Council, has made it clear he will be rebelling against his own party’s proposed plans to close up to 11 care homes.

The county council says the care home closures could save £5.2 million and the planned closure of eight older person’s day centres could save £1.3 million.

This is to help bridge a budget black hole this year of £40 million.

The plans are set to be launched for public consultation next Monday (April 29) with the council to consider closing either nine or 11 care homes and eight older person’s day centres.

Cllr Gourlay, Conservative councillor for the Chapel and Hope Valley division, said:  “I’d rather s*** in my hands and clap than vote to close Whitestones Care Home (in Chapel).”

This initial comment was followed by a full statement from Cllr Gorulay, which reads: “These plans will punish the most vulnerable of my neighbours, who I was elected to protect.

“I completely understand the financial mess at Matlock, but Cllr Barry Lewis (DCC’s Conservative leader) is undermining the operation of NHS hospitals, which will now struggle to discharge elderly patients.

“When my own party suggests plans like these, I wonder whether it would have been better for the council to declare itself bankrupt and call in civil servants to take the big decisions.

“It’s like the political leadership have been dropped on their heads.”

Cllr Joan Dixon, Labour Group leader, said: “Thanks to the mismanagement of the council budget, much-loved homes and day centres for some of our most vulnerable adults are facing closure.  

“It will deprive residents of an option to choose a home with a high quality level of care and the assurance of it being run by the county council.  

“It feels like the current financial situation is being exploited to close or sell off assets that are valued by the people of Derbyshire.”

Cllr Ed Fordham, Liberal Democrat Group leader, said: “This next round of care home closures is a betrayal and a disgrace and flies in the face of all the words and speeches and guarantees given previously. 

“The Conservative administration at County Hall is literally putting the council on a course that is entirely negative, closes homes, puts pressure on the NHS and will harm residents and patients.

“The people who have put their trust in the council in old age and at their hour of greatest need are being betrayed, sold off and literally evicted. 

“I could not be more angry, more upset and more worried. 

“This literally places the lives of those who live in care homes on the line. 

“The stress and the worry will, as it did before, lead to people dying early. It is sickening. 

“This is a brutal approach, it is the approach of a council that has failed and it is wrong.

“The council can blame who they like – but the raw truth is this is the direct result of the policies of the Conservative Party locally and nationally and the guilt lies firmly at their door.

“The moment of truth will come when councillors vote in the chamber and we will see who is voting to harm residents of Derbyshire. 

“It will isolate those who live in our homes in trust, and we will see who is voting to evict them.

“The Liberal Democrat Group stands firmly in favour of the residents, retaining the care homes and against closure.”

Cllr Gez Kinsella, Green Party councillor, said: “It’s the national Conservative government that has strangled funding to local government. 

“It’s this Conservative Derbyshire County Council administration that has failed to effectively manage their budget. 

“The council said they would protect the most vulnerable when making budget cuts, yet this proposal and others hit vulnerable people the hardest. 

“These proposals will again create fear and uncertainty for carers, residents and their families. I will be opposing them in the strongest terms.”

The following 11 care homes could be closed:

  1. Briar Close, Borrowash
  2. Bennerley Fields, Ilkeston
  3. Castle Court, Swadlincote
  4. Florence Shipley, Heanor
  5. The Grange, Eckington 
  6. Lacemaker Court, Long Eaton
  7. The Leys, Ashbourne
  8. New Bassett House, Shirebrook
  9. Rowthorne, Swanwick
  10. Thomas Colledge, Bolsover
  11. Whitestones, Chapel-en-le-Frith

The 11 care home closures would affect 162 residents, who would need to be relocated to another council care home, to a private facility, or housed elsewhere.

A plan to close nine care homes, retaining Florence Shipley and Lacemaker Court from the list above, is also being considered, which would see 135 residents affected.

All “non-integrated” day centres below are proposed for closure in both the options put forward by the council.

  1. Blackwell Day Centre, Blackwell
  2. Eccles Fold Day Centre, Chapel-en-le-Frith
  3. Fabrick Day Services, Hilton
  4. Hasland Resource Centre, Hasland (Chesterfield)
  5. Jubilee Centre, New Mills
  6. Queens Court, Buxton
  7. Shirebrook Resource Centre
  8. Valley View Day Centre, Bolsover

 

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