Petition launched to safeguard 23 council-run care homes – including one in Shirebrook
A petition to save 23 council-run care homes – including one in Shirebrook – has been launched over fears a proposal to close seven of them is just the tip of the iceberg.
Coun Ed Fordham, Liberal Democrat leader for Derbyshire, has set up a petition rejecting ‘the option of closure’ on seven care homes for the elderly identified by Derbyshire Council as needing £27 million spending on them in repairs.
Furthermore, the petition urges the council to ‘step-back from the implied threat to the other 16 care homes, which are owned and run by the council’, adding: “We urge you to end closure speculation.”
The move comes days after Coun Fordham and eight other councillors from across four parties ‘called-in’ a decision by the council’s cabinet and successfully paused a consultation over the future of the at-risk seven, which includes Holmlea care home, Waverley Street, Tibshelf.
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However, Coun Fordham believes all council-run care homes – including New Bassett House care home, Park Avenue, Shirebrook, and Rowthorne care home, Rowthorne Avenue, Swanwick – may be at risk in the future.
He said: “I’m not fighting for the seven, I’m fighting for all 23.
“I don’t believe the seven are at risk, I think they are gone in the eyes of the Conservative administration – seven is just the start.”
The council has been weighing up whether to move the elderly care home residents while repair work is undertaken, or close the facilities entirely and relocate them to ‘suitable alternative accommodation’.
However Coun Fordham suggested residents could simply be moved within the homes while the work is undertaken to avoid the stress of relocating them.
He said this would be preferable to moving them to a new facility.
“When you move residents out of long-term care they are more likely to die within six months,” he added.
Emma Roberts, Unison East Midlands regional organiser, echoed his concerns.
She said: “This decision means distress and disruption for residents, some of whom have dementia.
“These are vulnerable people who need protecting, but who now face the distress of having to move somewhere new.”
Unison represents many council employees, and the union leader added: “The dedicated and experienced staff who care for them also face uncertain futures and could quit for other jobs.
“The council must work with its care employees to reassure them and find a better solution that avoids the homes closing their doors for good.
“Otherwise, the impact on staff and the local community will be devastating.”
A council spokesman said: “The council’s proposed consultation into the future of seven of its care homes has been formally called in and is currently suspended while democratic processes are followed.
“If, following further scrutiny, the consultation proceeds then all public views and comments will be taken into consideration as part of the final decision on those homes.
“The e-petition which been created closes on March 23, 2022. When it has closed for signatures will be dealt with in accordance with the council’s Petition Scheme.”
Once the petition reaches 7,500 signatures the issue can go before full council for debate.
To sign the petition, visit bit.ly/32vTZoP