Doncaster’s seven remaining council-run care homes are to be recommended for closure, we can exclusively reveal.
Despite a 25,000-name petition from the Caregate action group, and several protests, the recommendation from the council’s adults and communities department is set to be made to Doncaster Mayor, Ros Jones and the Cabinet, who will make the final decision a week today.
The report details the findings of a consultation process which has been ongoing since January, and looks at a number of factors including modernisation, demand and the views and needs of residents.
Speaking about the report and the recommendations, the Assistant Director of Adult Social Care, Pat Higgs, said: “The officers have come to this conclusion based around several aspects. The main thing is the modernisation of adult social care around the need to ensure we are giving people the choice to stay at home for longer. We need to ensure people have more control over how they can access services more locally and remain independent.”
A total of 132 older people are currently cared for in the council-run homes.
Mr Higgs continued: “We do recognise that for some people the risk to their own health and safety means they have to consider residential care as the ultimate option and for where their care needs will be met.
“And in order to do that we need to ensure the correct quality and provisions are available. It’s about the correct mix of beds in the borough and it’s about quality and the way the council ensures that quality is maintained and improves.”
Mr Higgs added no final decision has been made yet.
The seven council-run residential care homes will undergo a ‘phased closure’ if the Mayor and Cabinet opt to axe them.
The closures were initially proposed as part of Mayor Jones’ three year budget, through which the local authority needs to save £109 million.
The council estimates it will save £1.9m if the closures get the go-ahead.
Caregate campaigner Michelle Bailey, whose mother-in-law is a resident at Rose House in Armthorpe, urged Ros Jones and cabinet members to ‘consider all of the facts’ before making a decision at their cabinet meeting on June 25.
The 47-year-old said: “We’re worried about the risk to life if the decision is made to close the care homes. We have it in black and white from doctors that it’s dangerous to their health for vulnerable people to move. They’ve already moved once - why should they have to do it again?”
She added: “They talk about modernisation, but it’s already gone past that. Everyone who has a family member in a care home has already made the difficult decision to move them to a council care home where they thought they would have some stability.
“If they make the decision to close the homes, this will just be the beginning. Our lawyers are ready and waiting to start the legal process.”