Anger At Dementia Home Closure Threat

Councillors in Doncaster have reacted angrily against the proposed closure of a residential home for sufferers of dementia. Doncaster Council’s elected mayor Martin Winter and his cabinet have put forward proposals to axe the town’s Rose House old people’s home. Armthorpe ward councillors Margaret Pinkney, Peter Farrell and Tony Brown have called the plans “a severe blow against our communities most vulnerable members and a kick in the teeth for democratic accountability by the Labour Party in Doncaster”.

Employees of Rose House, a specialist local authority residential home for dementia sufferers in Church Street, Armthorpe, have been told by council officials that the unit could close in the next few weeks, following cuts to the council’s social services budget.

This would see local authority old people’s homes being reduced from eight to six over the next financial year, leaving a number of people jobless.

Councillor Pinkney, leader of the Independent Councillors group, said: “My group fought vehemently against the budget cuts in the provision of residential homes during the last budget round. Mayor Martin Winter gave a commitment that there would be a wide consultation about the OAP care within Doncaster, but Labour Party councillors supported his proposal to close two homes.

“The mayor has reneged on his word, and ward councillors have not been informed of any outcomes. Yet decisions have been taken in secret, resulting in employees, some of whom have given 30 years of good service to the most vulnerable in our society, set to lose their jobs.

“Carers are left in limbo not knowing what the future holds for their relatives, and a home, that was described as the ‘crème de la crème’ of Doncaster’s residential provision, is being inexplicably closed.”

She said Rose House has 36 residential places for sufferers of dementia, and recently underwent a costly refurbishment by the council with the intention of making the home the foremost resource centre for health and social care in the borough.

Councillor Pinkney, Armthorpe ward councillor, added: “I have been inundated with calls from worried relatives throughout the borough, I shall be arranging emergency meetings with the mayor and councillor John Hardy, the cabinet member responsible for this decision to find out the reasons for this despicable decision.”

Earlier this week Doncaster Council announced it has launched a consultation on the two care homes that it has recommended to close. Along with Rose House, St James Court, in Doncaster town centre, is also being considered for closure, and both will enter a period of consultation with immediate effect.

Mayor Winter said: ‘It is always a difficult decision to consider closing a home and it is essential that everyone realises that this decision has been made following extensive consideration, thought and care. The decision on which homes would potentially close follows a comprehensive option appraisal which, I believe, has enabled us to make a fair and balanced decision. The conclusion we have come to will no doubt be unpopular with some, but no decision that we made was going to be favourable to everyone. Our priority now is to enable the residents, their relatives and staff to have their say and to raise any other issues with us during the consultation period.”