Councillors call for extra consultation

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COUNCILLORS have asked health bosses in the city to extend by another three months a consultation period on the closure of two specialist dementia nursing homes.

The Health and Community Care Scrutiny Committee asked Simon Kirk, director of strategy and transition at NHS Sheffield, to go back to the board of directors at the primary care trust and ask for the extension on the consultation to close Woodland View and Birch Avenue care homes in Norton and Chapeltown.

They also called for further research on potential alternative uses for the homes to be explored, and questioned whether withdrawing the £2.8 million in ‘top-up’ funding the PCT currently provides - without which the homes would be forced to close - would save money in the long term.

Councillors added that if the decision following the current consultation - due to end in May - resulted in the homes being closed, they would ask for the matter to be referred to the Secretary of State for health.

The PCT has agreed in principle to withdraw the funding claiming that it can no longer be justified, since there is no evidence to suggest the homes provide sufficient added value.

Concerned relatives are fighting the plans and have collected more than 12,000 names on a petition opposing the moves. A decision is currently expected in June.