Dementia care centres closure decision delayed

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COUNCIL bosses in Sheffield will not make a decision on the closure of three threatened dementia care centres for at least six months.

Two separate public consultations are to be conducted before Norbury resource centre in Norwood, Bolehill View resource centre in Crookes and Hurlfield View in Gleadless Common, can be shut.

Sheffield Council wants to close the centres as part of a shake-up of the way dementia services are provided.

Their budget for 2012/13, approved by the ruling Labour administration in March, included plans to ‘decommission’ the three centres, which officers say are ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

The plans have been met with anger by patient groups, trade unions and opposition politicians, who say the centres, which provide residential, respite and day care, are a vital service.

The council has now launched a three-month consultation on wider dementia services in the city.

The consultation does not specifically mention the three centres - and Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, has now revealed if the proposals to close the centres are pursued a second three-month consultation will be needed.

She told The Star: “People’s expectations of how they get their care is changing.

“Staying at home, in your own community, is much better for you than being in residential care.

“Obviously people who have relatives with dementia do need a lot of support, and there always will be provision for and respite care in this city. But needs are changing, and we are getting out and asking people about what they want from the service.”

Coun Rob Frost, Lib Dem councillor for Crookes, who is campaigning against the closures, said: “Once again Labour’s leaders are refusing to be open and honest.

“Labour councillors should drop their plan to close these pillars of our community.”