Michael Fabricant visited The OakDene Day Centre in Burntwood today
(Friday 30th March) for a meeting with over 40 users from which the
press had been banned by Staffordshire County Council.
"I can well understand why Stafford banned any press coverage" says
Michael Fabricant. "They didn’t want journalists to hear for themselves
the pleas from those with physical and mental disabilities against the
planned closure of day centres and residential care homes throughout
Staffordshire proposed by Labour controlled County Council. These were
pleas from some of the most vulnerable in our society to whom we all owe
a duty of care."
Michael had been invited to attend the day centre by Mrs Gillian Freeman
who uses the centre and is herself wheelchair bound. Michael adds:
"This care centre generates a sense of community for those in real need
and provides mutual support. Without it, relatives and carers would
have no respite and users would be totally isolated from society. It is
clear that the County have not thought this through thoroughly.
"I was also disappointed, though not surprised, to learn that despite
numerous promises made to various users that they would be kept informed
of decisions made at County Hall and what is being proposed to replace
day centres, nothing of the sort has happened. Users are being left in
the dark. I have suggested Mrs Freeman now invites the Burntwood Labour
County Councillors who voted for these closures to OakDene to allow them
the opportunity to explain their decision. I hope they will accept the
"Meanwhile, I am building up a dossier of broken promises and other
inconsistent behaviour by the County which may be submitted and used as
evidence in an inquiry by the Local Government Ombudsman into the
operations of the County Council and some of its officers."