Two More Staffs Care Homes To Shut

Two more council residential homes for the elderly were today earmarked for the axe to complete a hit-list of six closures. Officials have started 12 weeks of consultation on the shutdown of Parkside Home, Weston Coyney which has 30 residents and Hilton House, Hartshill where 17 older people live.

The homes join Edith Beddow House, in Hanford, and Mill Hill, in Tunstall, which closed last September and Austin House, Abbey Hulton and Mary Bourne Home, in Bucknall, already under review for probable closure.

The move is the final part of a shake-up of residential care in which the rest of Stoke-on-Trent’s dozen homes are being redeveloped into specialist centres to allow intense rehabilitation so residents can move back into independent living.

The latest closures were revealed in letters from the local authority’s head of older people’s services, Terry Hawkins, to councillors in wards where the two buildings are located.

In his letter revealing consultation started on May 7 – six days after the election – Mr Hawkins says: “Please accept our personal assurance that we are committed to ensuring the residents and their families are offered a choice of high quality accommodation to consider.

“We are also committed to supporting staff at this difficult time and we have a team of people dedicated to this project.

“Our commitment to existing residents remains.

“We will invest significant funds of revenue and capital resources in developing centres of excellence to support new ways of working with older people.

“But we will not achieve excellence with existing service arrangements.”

Hartshill and Penkhull councillor Barbara Beeston, who received one of the letters said: “It is yet another example of wrong priorities by the council. More and more money gets spent on spin doctors, consultants, decorating and new carpets at the Civic Centre.

“Yet care homes are being closed with all the upset and upheaval this involves for elderly people. For the council it’s just a service but for the old people affected, it means losing their home.”

Ann James, pictured, who was a member of the Adults and Older People’s Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, last month accused the council of delaying bad news until after the local government elections.

According to Mrs James, admissions have already ceased at Hilton House to allow its resident numbers to dwindle and make the decision easier. Mrs James said she feared more “bad news” would come out now the elections were over – including the fate of Dimensions Splash Pool, Burslem, which is under threat.

She added: “The closure of these homes reduces choice further for older people at a time when capacity in private homes is also falling.

“I am amazed there hasn’t been a bigger challenge from people to these closures which make it a very sad day for Stoke-on-Trent.”

Andy Day, co-ordinator of the North Staffordshire Pensioners’ Convention, said: “The council is walking away from its responsibilities to these residents.

“We were promised the six homes would close at a rate of two a year but they are all going in a very short period and the council knows the stress that causes very vulnerable residents.”

Are one of your relatives about to lose a place at their care home?