Anger as councillors vote to close ‘lifeline’ care home
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