Rokerfield Day care centre solution is ‘inadequate’ say councillors

Rokerfield Community Support Service, Mansfield Road, Sutton.
Rokerfield Community Support Service, Mansfield Road, Sutton.
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ELDERLY folk are being forced to use a day care centre which is over crowded, has inadequate facilities and an unsuitable mix of vulnerable people, councillors have said.

As reported in Chad last year, Red Oaks Day Services, on Southwell Road West, Mansfield, was chosen for a £400,000 refurbishment as part of a £6.7m upgrade of centres across the county.

While the work is ongoing, users are being taken to Rokerfield Community Support Service at King’s Mill Hospital. Red Oaks is set to re-open by the end of June.

Coun Stuart Richardson, Mansfield district and Nottinghamshire county councillor, believes the current arrangements are unsuitable.

He said: “I don’t agree with the mix of people at Rokerfield with varying mental issues.

“Some people who are completely compos mentis use it as a day centre, they shouldn’t be mixing with people with dementia. People with dementia shouldn’t be mixing with those with Downs Syndrome.

“There is also a capacity issue and I don’t think they can accommodate all the service users. I’m not very happy about the whole situation. I feel that this county council is failing elderly people by the way they are treating them.

“I’ve been to Rokerfield and was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere, there are a lot of hard-working staff and the atmosphere was happy.

“The staff have the will and caring nature but could be dealing with mental illnesses which they have never dealt with before.”

Coun Richardson also thinks charges for day centre use are too high.

He added: “I feel the county council is trying to squeeze these people out of the system by raising the charges.

“They say they want more people to stay in their own homes but I think it is just about getting them out of the way.”

Fellow county councillor Chris Winterton is also concerned about the situation at Rokerfield. He said: “There is inadequate car parking for staff and there is not sufficient space for carers’ vehicles and ambulances, this makes transferring vulnerable people into the day centre extremely difficult. The current system is just not working.

“One wonders whether the county council wants to discourage people from using their services.

“If you have a loved one that needs service provision you need to be happy with the care they are getting.”

Jon Wilson, service director, personal care and support for younger adults at Nottinghamshire County Council, said steps have been taken to ensure Rokerfield can cope with the extra users and insists it is not over capacity.

He said: “Red Oaks Day Services is undergoing a £400,000 upgrade, which includes major improvements to facilities and the environment in the horticultural base and main building.

“While the work is taking place service users are being offered the chance to still receive a service at other day centres, including Rokerfield, which has capacity for 94 service users.

“Since the Red Oaks service users were transferred, attendance at Rokerfield ranges from 57 to 82 users, depending on the day of the week, so is well within capacity.

“We have taken a number of measures to ensure that access to the car park and the number of spaces is safe and adequate.

“This has included having two members of staff on car park duties at peak times, changing the layout of the car park, creating more larger disabled spaces and staff parking off site to allow more room for service users.”