Care centres to be closed down

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TWO care centres for elderly people in Sheffield are to be closed in the next few weeks - despite the objections of 7,200 residents.

The seven members of Sheffield Council’s Labour cabinet voted unanimously to decommission Sevenfields resource centre in Wisewood and Hazelhurst resource centre in Jordanthorpe.

Some 62 staff members from the two centres now face an uncertain future, as they are absorbed into the rest of the council’s Care4You service.

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, told a meeting yesterday not all staff members would keep their jobs.

“I would like to commend the staff at Hazelhurst and Sevenfields - they have a reputation across the city,” she said.

“I’m sad for those concerned, and we do recognise what they have done over the years.”

She said the two centres - which provide 31 intermediate care beds for people who have been discharged from hospital, as well as 11 longer-term care beds - had to be closed because of modern requirements.

“Because the NHS wants to have 24-hour nursed care, and the capacity is there in the city, we have no option but to recommend this proposal.”

Richard Webb, the council’s executive director of communities, said: “These kind of recommendations are not made lightly. There has been an extensive review and extensive consultation.”

Once the two centres are closed down the service will be outsourced to private providers.

In the long-term the NHS wants to build a 120-bed modern facility for intermediate care, but they have still not found a site, despite searching since 2008.

Speaking afterwards, Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “Despite the complete lack of progress in locating a suitable site, Labour councillors have ploughed ahead with the closure of the existing homes.”

Green Coun Jillian Creasy said: “What really worries me is that it is moving services into the private sector. It’s happening more and more and we are losing democratic control of our services.”

Jamie Thompson, local organiser for the Unison trade union, said: “It is very disappointing they have made this decision, given the overwhelming evidence about the high quality of care at these centres, and concerns about the service in the private sector.”