Hampshire councillors vote to close three care homes

Hampshire Chronicle: Roy Perry, leader of the county council Roy Perry, leader of the county council

TO cries of “shame” Hampshire County Councillors have voted to close three residential care homes.

Members of the cabinet overwhelmingly voted this afternoon for the closures of Nightingale Lodge in Romsey, Deeside in Basingstoke and Bulmer House in Petersfield, despite pleas from relatives and staff closely linked with the homes.

Councillors voted for Cranleigh Paddock in Lyndhurst to remain open ‘due to the expert nature of care’ but chose to close its day centre facilities.

Around 80 long-term residents, many of whom have dementia and are physically frail, will need to be relocated.

Speaking to save Deeside, Teresa Kerr, said: “You are turning your back on the elderly who are too frail to come here themselves today. This is a very serious issue and please, please ensure this stops now. I find myself recalling the film of 12 angry men as Henry Fonda trying to steer the jury. But this is not a Hollywood movie, this is real life. I implore each and every one of you to stop this.”

Ms Kerr’s plea received a standing ovation from people in the public gallery.

Cllr Tony Hooke, UKIP, said: “We were told 83 per cent were opposed and were ignored. My feeling is if Jesus Christ himself had opposed he would have been ignored. I stand to pay tribute to the staff, residents and relatives. I say shame on any member of this cabinet who votes for these closures.”

Referring to Nightingale Lodge being a former workhouse, the chairman, Cllr Roy Perry, said: “It’s a good place and has good care but it’s not really the place that one would want their family to go to.”

Members of the gallery were quick to respond and one shouted, “Shame on you!”

Cllr Perry continued: “The rooms there are small, similar to a cabin on a cross channel ferry. Better provision is needed.”

He concluded: “You can see the consultation was listened to,” and was interrupted by mocking laughter. “We will do the best we possibly can,” he continued. “Hampshire County Council remains one of the leading councils in the land for elderly people.”

One response he received was: “I think you’ve done something illegal just now.”

The dates for the closures have not been fully identified but it was confirmed that no elderly patients would be moved until such time that adequate alternative services had been found.

Gill Duncan, the county’s director of adult services, confirmed they would work closely with families to help find the ‘best possible provision’ for existing residents.

Cabinet members agreed that the closure of Deeside would be delayed until such time that the new wing in the nearby facilities in Oakridge were fully accessible.

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