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Petition with 15,000 signatures handed over in bid to block closures
PROTESTERS have sent a stark message to Hampshire civic chiefs: "Leave our care homes alone".
That was the message from protesters to Hampshire’s adult social care chiefs planning to close four county-run care homes.
Petitions made up of more than 15,000 names were presented to Hampshire UKIP county councillor Tony Hooke yesterday to try to persuade the authority to keep open Romsey’s Nightingale Lodge, Bulmer House at Petersfield, Cranleigh Paddock in Lyndhurst and Deeside at Basingstoke.
‘Not enough’ Unison deputy Hampshire branch secretary Jan Matthews, who handed over the signatures outside the county headquarters in Winchester, said: “The county council is pushing extra care homes which are great, but not suitable for all.
“There’s a big need for residential homes where dementia is concerned and there’s also the fact that some of these people have been living there for 15 years, so they see it as their home.
“Extra care is not enough. It consists of a person buying or renting a flat from a housing association with carers that pop in to do the necessities, but otherwise they are left on their own and can get isolated.”
Unison branch secretary Tim Cutter added: “The council is abandoning its responsibility to provide care for the elderly and is prepared to pay taxpayers’ money to the private sector to take over that provision.”
Cllr Hooke added that he believed the council will do a U-turn and save the homes because of the reaction.
He said: “I think Cllr Roy Perry is having major doubts about this because of the public opinion that has come back.
“I went to Deeside on Tuesday and that facility is first class.
“The staff really care about the residents; it’s a community and you can really feel the love.”
Executive member for adult social services, Cllr Anna McNair Scott, is set to make the decision on all four homes on November 27.
‘Key focus’ It is recommended they are demolished and replaced with private sheltered accommodation with extra care facilities.
Cllr Perry added extra care was a key focus for the council as elderly people want to stay independent.
He said: “There’s an increasing demand for people to be able to live more independent lives and that is possible in extra care homes.
“No decision on these four homes has been made yet and we will very carefully consider all the responses made in the consultation.”
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