Union hits out at plans to axe dementia homes

Norbury  Resource Centre,Crabtree Road
Norbury Resource Centre,Crabtree Road
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PLANS to close two dementia care centres in Sheffield to save £800,000 from the city council’s budget have been met with opposition by union officials.

The centres - Norbury, in Norwood, and Bole Hill View in Crookes - have been recommended for closure after a consultation was held on the future of Sheffield’s services for dementia sufferers.

A third home, Hurlfield View in Gleadless Common, will remain open under the plan, with services transferred there from Norbury.

In total, 110 staff work at the three centres, and 20 will not be found work under the new structure.

The council says workers will be redeployed where possible, but compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out.

Charlie Carruth, Sheffield organiser for health workers in the Unison trade union, said residents in the north of the city will be ‘at a disadvantage’ if the centres close.

“We have concerns about the capacity at Gleadless.

“We still don’t think what is left is adequate, and that’s to the detriment of people in Sheffield with dementia, and their families.”

Mr Carruth said union members felt ‘disappointed’.

“We believe the centres are key to the support of dementia patients across the city. There will be areas where there are gaps people fall through, and don’t get support,” he added.

Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said the closures were part of a move towards providing ‘flexible and personalised support’ for dementia patients, including more care in their own homes.

But Mr Carruth said: “The bottom line is the fact that it’s about saving money, because they’ve resorted to it through budget cuts. The idea they would be doing this if there weren’t cuts is nonsense.

“I understand that they have to make huge savings, but this service can’t afford to be cut.”

He said the union is encouraging carers to lobby MPs and councillors in the run-up to next Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, when the proposals will be discussed.

If approved, Norbury will shut by the end of next March, and Bole Hill View by the end of March 2014, subject to further consultation.

About £19m is invested in services for dementia patients and carers by Sheffield Council.

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