Clash over way Earlsmoor care home plan was dealt with

STAFF and union leaders have clashed with council officers over the handling of proposed closure for a Swansea care facility.

Councillors have decided to accept a number of controversial recommendations over the future of care in the city. But workers say they felt they were kept in the dark as to what would happen when the doors of Earlsmoor shut for good.

Although, a meeting was held between both sides over the issue, it has since emerged Swansea Council is looking at the possibility of developing a respite care unit within another care home — Rose Cross House, in Penlan.

Union bosses confirmed Earlsmoor staff only found out about the plan from employees at Rose Cross House about a week ago, and that there was nothing official confirmed by the local authority.

But a spokesman for Swansea Council said it had done its utmost to make sure staff were as informed as possible.

The authority said at yesterday’s meeting of the health, social care and well being overview board in the Civic Centre, if the plan for Rose Cross House went ahead, it would be created along the lines of Ty Waunarlwydd respite centre that deals with dementia patients.

The proposal forms part of the shake-up of care services.

Following a decision by the board to adopt the recommendations outlined in the review of respite care, exploring alternative options to Earlsmoor, a heated exchange broke out.

One member of staff branded the meeting held over the closure proposals as “rubbish” and said it would be better “if you (the authority) were honest and not two-faced about things.”

She also raised concerns with officers as to what the future would hold for staff at the Brynmill respite unit. The situation led to branch secretary Nicky Symons, of Unison, to call for a series of meetings to be held.

He added: “We are going to hold a meeting next week. I believe there has been a communication breakdown.

“Of course, there needs to be alterations to the buildings but what we believe is the service in Earlsmoor can continue.”

A decision is yet to have been taken over the future of Earlsmoor and will not be made until the New Year.

A council spokesman said it was not true that staff had been kept in the dark.

He said: “Consultations about the future of respite care services have been taking place for more than a year.

“Unison has been consulted and so have staff.

“It was not possible to be specific with Earlsmoor staff at the time because the manager, staff and residents at Rose Cross had not been consulted. However, following a meeting at Rose Cross it was agreed that one of the existing eight-bed units could be an option to be transformed into a high-quality respite care unit with en suite facilities.