Members revolt at MS Society

Members of the MS Society are calling for the charity to reverse the decision to close its four respite care centres, claiming the plans were made “behind closed doors”.

The society announced last month that it would withdraw support for its residential centres in York, Leamington Spa, Surrey and East Lothian, putting 380 jobs at risk. It plans to redirect £2.1m away from the centres and into providing more personalised support for people with MS.

But members of the charity have tabled resolutions for its annual general meeting in September that call on trustees to reverse the decision and criticise the way it was made.

One member, Janice Cook, says in a statement to support her resolution: “The lack of openness and transparency in this decision-making process is despicable on every level and appears to signal an intolerable sea change in the society.”

A separate resolution calls for the Leamington Spa home to remain open and says: “The trustee decision to no longer provide residential respite care should be reversed until detailed work has been completed on individual impact and more effective, transparent consultation has taken place.”

Cook said the decision had been made “behind closed doors” and some members were “disgusted by the way the decision has been made”.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The MS Society has been open about the respite care review. Centre staff were informed and regularly updated through staff meetings, manager updates and staff newsletters. MS Society members were regularly kept updated through our various publications, and open meetings were held across the country.”