Nottingham Council gives reassurance over care of learning disabilities

Nottingham City Council has moved to reassure the parents and carers of people with learning disabilities about future services.

The council has come in for heavy criticism over plans to:

  • Close Riverside Care Home.
  • Reorganise day care services.
  • Withdraw council day care from residents in private residential homes.

But Coun Eunice Campbell, portfolio holder for adult social care, insisted the changes were not driven by the need to save money.

She said she was committed to delivering better services.

Coun Campbell said: “I desire to see better care. We have to look at the quality of service and ask is it fit for purpose.

“What I want to see is a long-term programme that actually reflects the need of our aging population and those people with learning disabilities.

“There is a political commitment to support people in our care homes and in learning disabilities centres.

“However, the emphasis in local government is we have to make savings.”

The parents of people with learning disabilities who are resident at Riverside in Bulwell say they feel misled.

The council decided in September 2006 to close the home but to spend £800,000 gained from its sale on refurbishing Mellers Court, St Ann’s. But the authority abandoned the refurbishment plan because of new rules about room sizes.

However, residents claim they continued to be told by the council it was looking at building a new facility and were shocked to discover there was no alternative when Riverside’s closure was announced.

Coun Campbell said the council would look at what undertakings were given.

Helen Jones, a senior council officer responsible for adult social care, said it could not afford a new facility.

Ms Jones said the emphasis was moving from residential care to “adult fostering”.

In addition, some residents will be transferred to nursing homes for older people, private sector care homes or semi independent living.

The council agreed it decided not to proceed with refurbishment of Mellers Court because of the room size. It said the cost of refurbishment or a rebuild would be in excess of £2m.

It accepts it consulted with Riverside’s staff, residents and carers over the possibility of moving to a new facility.