Anger as coun­cil­lors vote to close ‘life­line’ care home

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

COUN­CIL chiefs have come un­der at­tack from res­i­dents and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers for vot­ing to shut Hollins View care home.

Cheshire East Coun­cil’s cab­i­net unan­i­mously ap­proved pro­pos­als to close the ser­vice at the end of the year dur­ing a cab­i­net meet­ing on Tues­day.

Cam­paign­ers had hoped they had saved the home from clo­sure last De­cem­ber af­ter coun­cil bosses per­formed a u-turn on their pre­vi­ous plans to move respite ser­vice out of Hollins View fol­low­ing a Mac­cles­field Ex­press cam­paign.

But the shock move, which will save the coun­cil £1.3m per year, means respite care for de­men­tia and long term-ill­ness will in­stead be pro­vided by the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor, in­clud­ing pri­vate care homes.

In an ex­plo­sive meet­ing res­i­dents re­acted with fury.

Cam­paigner David Wood claimed the de­ci­sion would mean the coun­cil would be ‘fish­ing in a shrink­ing pond’ to ful­fil the need for respite care.

Fel­low cam­paigner Jean Ben­nett claimed she had called 12 pri­vate care homes in Mac­cles­field and two in Bolling­ton and found none had avail­abil­ity for respite care.

In a state­ment read out at the meet­ing Coun Laura Jeuda called on the coun­cil to re­con­sider the plans. She said: “On Satur­day in Mac­cles­field we col­lected more than 200 sig­na­tures in an hour and a half; they were peo­ple who were con­cerned about los­ing such a valu­able re­source as Hollins View.

“I would im­plore coun­cil­lor Jones to think about lo­cal peo­ple and their wishes and needs, af­ter all they are not ask­ing for much but just enough to save Cheshire East a great deal of money as they carry on car­ing for their loved ones.”

De­fend­ing his po­si­tion, coun­cil leader Michael Jones said the move would in­crease respite for car­ers. He said respite beds at Hollins View were be­ing used for up to six months rather than short term as they are de­signed for.

Janet Clowes, cab­i­net mem­ber for Adults, Health and Leisure, backed the plans say­ing “it is in­cum­bent on us to pro­vide mul­ti­ple forms of respite care. We have to deal with ev­ery­one’s needs. Respite care as it stands is too ex­pen­sive.”

Re­act­ing to the de­ci­sion Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley crit­i­cised the coun­cil’s han­dling of the pro­pos­als say­ing there were too many unan­swered ques­tions.

He said: “When it is deal­ing with a ser­vice that is trusted by many res­i­dents and by so many vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, the coun­cil should do a bet­ter job at ex­plain­ing how it be­lieves its pro­posed plans will pro­vide a bet­ter ser­vice for pa­tients and car­ers, as well as ben­e­fit the tax payer. If there is a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive, the coun­cil needs to show clearly how it has worked in Con­gle­ton and in other lo­cal author­i­ties nearby. Over the last few months, this has not hap­pened.

“It is vi­tal that the al­ter­na­tives are clearly set out for pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.”

The Mac­cles­field-based care home, which has been de­scribed by users as a ‘life­line’, pro­vides respite care for frail and vul­ner­a­ble pa­tients with de­men­tia and long-term ill­nesses to give them valu­able time away and their fam­i­lies and car­ers a break.

As a re­sult of the de­ci­sion Hollins View will close on De­cem­ber 31, along with Lin­coln House in Crewe, with ser­vices be­ing ten­dered to the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor.

●● Cam­paign­ers gath­ered out­side Cheshire East head­quar­ters in Sandbach be­fore the cab­i­net meet­ing

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