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Fears carehome closures are costing lives
CAMPAIGNERS fear the closure of council-run care homes for the elderly in Hampshire is costing lives.
Homes were closed at a number of locations across the county over the past two years and now the county council has confirmed that 32 of 77 elderly residents have since died – a mortality rate of 42 per cent.
Eight passed away after news of threatened closures and 24 after being moved.
That rate is more than double the usual death rate in care homes – according to research conducted elsewhere in the UK.
The grim statistics were revealed just hours before a public meeting tonight on the future of another care home that is under threat of closure.
A large number of objectors battling to save the Cranleigh Paddock complex in Lyndhurst are expected to attend the meeting.
He said: “Cranleigh Paddock is regarded as an outstanding facility by residents’ families, staff and medical professionals.”
Dr Lewis said NHS staff regarded Cranleigh Paddock “as one of the best units of its kind for elderly people suffering from severe dementia.”
Another three homes including Nightingale Lodge in Romsey, are also threatened with closure.
If the scheme goes ahead, 121 long-term residents will be moved and 193 jobs shed.
Council chiefs claim it would cost more than £10m to modernise the homes and have put forward plans to turn three of the sites into extra care housing schemes comprising individual flats with support services run by partner housing associations.
But Hampshire’s UKIP councillors have accused the council of causing the early deaths of frail, elderly people forced to leave their homes.
But the council says that the claim does not take into account that a “significant number” were at a stage of moving to nursing or end-of-life care.
In a statement, the local authority said it was “unable to conclude” that pensioners being moved was to blame.
However Cllr Tony Hooke, deputy leader of the UKIP group on the county council, described the mortality rate as “shocking and depressing.”
Despite being from the anti-Europe party, the councillor said he would investigate if the closures breached their right to life under the European Court of Human Rights.
Councillor Anna McNair Scott, executive member for adult services, said “Figures of this kind can give no indication of underlying medication conditions that would have affected the outcomes for individuals.”
The council said residents were only moved when suitable alternative accommodation was found – and many were happier.
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