Michael Fabricant has reacted with shock at the news of the County Council’s plans to close most of the care homes in his constituency. "The County Council spent tens of thousands of pounds employing independent consultants and then ignored their conclusions. I shall now ask the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and Government ministers to investigate this further.
"The reports issued by the County Council say it all" says Michael Fabricant. "Regarding Hawthorne House in Lichfield, the Independent Consultation Feedback says it ‘has always had excellent inspection reports and could be adapted to meet new requirements.’ But the Recommendation is: ‘That the Home should be closed’. Or Nearfield House. The Independent Consultation Feedback says it ‘provides fantastic care with brilliant staff and families have confidence in it. It has recently been refurbished to a high standard’. The Recommendation is the same: ‘That the Home should be closed’.
"The same goes for Greenwood House in Burntwood and Scotch Orchard in Lichfield. The only good news is that Bracken House in Burntwood will remain open.
"My heart goes out to those old and vulnerable residents of these homes and their relatives whose future is now so uncertain. There has been appalling mismanagement by the Labour controlled County Council who have left this issue to the very last minute so precipitating this crisis."
Meanwhile, County Council Conservative Shadow Portfolio for Healthier Communities and Older People, County Councillor Robert Marshall said, "This recommendation to Cabinet is one of mixed messages and unfortunately many elderly residents are still at a loss to know what their future brings. Whilst we welcome the increase in provision of care for the elderly mentally ill and the move towards extra caring housing development, we continue to be worried about those old people whose community is to be broken up through their homes closure and the disturbance to those so elderly and frail. We are also apprehensive about the continuing uncertainty over the Learning Disability Centres whose future is still not fully decided."
Councillor Marshall continued, "What the Labour Council does not seem to understand is this is about people not buildings. Caring for our frail elderly people is the cornerstone of social care in this country and the interests of residents should be the first priority and not ignored when the business case deteriorates and closure is seen as the only option. The nub of the problem has always been that the County Council cannot provide quality care at a reasonable price and having got into difficulty financially are pushing through reforms that should have been looked at many years ago as long term change. The result of that is we now have precipitate closures of care homes without proper preparation or long term consultation with residents and their families, undoubtedly threatening their wellbeing."
Conservative Group Leader Philip Atkins said, " While today’s announcement on the future of Staffordshire County Councils’ Care Homes is a step towards the right direction, it is yet again too little and too late. We have needed Extra Care Housing and placements for Elderly Mentally Infirm for some time and talks with Housing Associations and The Housing Corporation should have been well on the way and construction work underway and nearing completion by now."
He continued, "Labour controlled Staffordshire County Council has left addressing these issues until it was nearly at crisis point and could no longer afford to continue providing care in the existing way. Unfortunately this announcement does nothing for some but continue the uncertainty, heartbreak and misery that has been brought into the lives of the vulnerable people involved and their carers. As Conservatives we continue to be concerned about the handling of this issue and the uncertainties that are still dominant in this cost saving ‘Changing Lives’ programme."