Petition launched by Lib Dems to save Derbyshire Care Homes
By Ed Fordham
Originally published by Derbyshire Dales Liberal Democrats
A petition has been started to save a county's council-run care homes after plans to close seven were announced.
Liberal Democrat leader for Derbyshire Councillor Ed Fordham has set up a petition rejecting 'the option of closure' on seven care homes for the elderly identified by the authority as needing £27million spending on them in repairs.
Furthermore, the petition urges the council to 'step-back from the implied threat to the other 16 care homes, which are owned and run by the council', adding: "We urge you to end closure speculation."
The move comes days after Cllr Fordham and eight other councillors from across four parties 'called-in' a decision by Cabinet and successfully paused a consultation over the future of the homes in Brimington, Bakewell, Sandiacre, West Hallam, Clowne, New Mills and Tibshelf.However the Chesterfield councillor believes all council-run care homes may be at risk in the future.
"I'm not fighting for the seven, I'm fighting for all 23," he said.
"I don't believe the seven are at risk, I think they are gone in the eyes of the Conservative administration - seven is just the start."
The council has been weighing up whether to move the elderly care home residents while repair work is undertaken, or close the facilities entirely and relocate them to 'suitable alternative accommodation'.
However Cllr Fordham suggested residents could simply be moved within the homes while the work is undertaken to avoid the stress of relocating them.
Giving The Spinney, in Brimington, as an example, he said the home has 37 beds and only 13 long term residents, as the council has closed it to new admissions.
"You're telling me you can't move them into one wing while the work is undertaken?" the councillor questioned.
He said this would be preferable to moving them to a new facility.
"When you move residents out of long-term care they are more likely to die within six months," he added.
UNISON East Midlands regional organiser Emma Roberts echoed his concerns.
She said: "This decision means distress and disruption for residents, some of whom have dementia.
"These are vulnerable people who need protecting, but who now face the distress of having to move somewhere new."
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: "The county council's proposed consultation into the future of seven of its care homes has been formally called in and is currently suspended while the normal democratic processes are followed.
"If, following further scrutiny, the consultation proceeds then all public views and comments will be taken into consideration as part of the final decision on those homes.
"The e-petition which been created closes on 23 March 2022 and when it has closed for signatures will be dealt with in accordance with the council's Petition Scheme."
Once the petition reaches 7,500 signatures the issue can go before full council for debate.