Councillor thrown off NHS trust after opposing plan

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A COUNCILLOR believes she has been thrown off a Sheffield health trust for speaking out against plans to close two care homes for elderly dementia sufferers.

Denise Reaney, Lib Dem member for Gleadless Valley, was appointed a governor at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust last autumn. The trust provides staff who work at the threatened Woodland View and Birch Avenue homes, in Norton and Chapeltown.

But last week she says she was contacted by the trust’s secretary, Chipo Kazoka, saying she could no longer continue in the role because there was a conflict of interest with her other role as a member of the council’s Health and Community Care Scrutiny Committee.

But Coun Reaney said Darnall Labour councillor Mary Lea holds the same roles and has been allowed to remain as a governor.

Coun Reaney said: “The only thing I can think of is that I was contacted by Mr Kazoka four days after I had spoken out against the closure of the care homes at a meeting of the council scrutiny committee. I had also been invited by Sue Harding, who has organised a 15,000-signature petition against the closures, to speak at a public meeting.”

Coun Reaney said she had checked with the Lib Dem group’s whip to ensure there was no conflict of interest with before accepting the post.

Council leader Paul Scriven, said: “NHS managers have got another thing coming if they think this outrageous action will stop Denise in her tracks.

“The proposal to close these two homes is simply wrong. It won’t save money in the long run and it will destroy specialist dementia care, which is vital for countless families.”

Members of Sheffield Council, which part-funds the dementia homes with NHS Sheffield, have voted to formally oppose the closures.

Mick Rodgers, deputy chief executive of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, confirmed they took the decision because of a conflict of interest and denied it had anything to do with her opposition to the closures.

He said: “We are aware there may be other governors who attend the Health and Community Care Scrutiny Committee, and we are looking into the implication of this.”