Knutsford adult social care centres face closure

LIFELINE health services in Knutsford are expected to close after council bosses approved plans to ‘improve’ adult social care.

Cheshire East Council’s cabinet unanimously passed a proposal on Monday to transfer services from Bexton Court and the Stanley Centre to enhance faciltiies in Wilmslow, Congleton and Macclesfield.

It is a further blow for Knutsford as the specialist dementia unit Bexton Court has been temporarily closed for a year while Stanley Centre users were hit by the removal of transport links.

Dr Geoff Thompson, of Stanley Road, said: “I find it surprising that the agenda item talks of the improvement of delivery of adult social care when the closure of the Stanley Centre is a major loss of service to people with learning disabilities in Knutsford.”

Charlotte Peters-Rock, of Allostock, whose husband suffers from dementia, added: “I believe it’s not been recognised that carers are in a desperate situation.

“A lot of them are on their knees trying to hold down jobs while services for their relatives are being removed from under them.

“They will not be on their knees but on the floor when this finishes.”

Clr Roland Domleo, cabinet member for adult services, said the council would be consulting with service users until December.

The deputy council leader said there was ‘great pressure’ on the adult social care budget with costs increasing by six per cent every year due to people living longer.

He also urged Knutsford residents to help come up with alternative ideas for local service provision by appealing to voluntary groups.

Clr Domleo said: “The buildings are getting old and less suitable for purpose. We have to question if they are in the right place for the service.

“Some regard them as a lifeline. In all of this quality of life for the people we’re dealing with is paramount.

“I hope the people in Knutsford will come up with positive ideas. The status quo is not an option.”

Clr Jamie Macrae, ward member for Mobberley, added: “It’s not about confrontation. We need to get the right health care that people want and need in Knutsford.

“I hope people engage with us and do not take the opinion that we’re doing this for financial benefits.”

But Clr Shirley Jones added: “People suffering from dementia cannot cope with change.

“They need consistency, they get used to the people and surroundings. A change can have a really detrimental effect on them.”

Mrs Peters-Rock said: “I believe no one has held discussions of the consequences.

“People with dementia can be confused and will be distressed when they are carted about like parcels.

“Who will pay for the carers’ fuel, effort and exhaustion to save the council money?

“The disabled and old are part of our community and if the council approves this why should Knutsford residents pay for social care at all?