Sheffield OAP centre closure plan for review after protest

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PLANS to close two care centres for elderly people in Sheffield will be reviewed after angry protests including a 7,322-signature petition.

Sevenfields resource centre, in Wisewood, and Hazlehurst resource centre, Jordanthorpe, were both earmarked to shut.

The facilities provide long term care as well as ‘halfway house rehabilitation’ for elderly people when they leave hospital. Sheffield Council was planning to use private facilities instead, putting 43 people out of work.

But after a debate during yesterday’s full meeting of Sheffield Council, members decided to refer the proposal for discussion by a cross-party scrutiny board of councillors.

Deputy leader Bryan Lodge said: “We will consider the arguments for keeping the centres, against the reasons for closure.”

Depending on the outcome, Coun Lodge said council officers could be asked to draft a new report to assess how care for patients at the two facilities is provided in future.

Discussions on the issue were triggered because a petition of more than 5,000 names guarantees a debate in the Town Hall chamber.

Calls for the issue to be sent to a scrutiny board were supported by opposition Lib Dem councillors so ‘all issues could be considered’ and the Green Party said they were against transfer of services to the private sector.

Area organiser for Unison in Sheffield, Dean Harper, who presented the petition to the council, said: “The plans are being driven by Government cuts and the council saying the centres are too expensive to run. But staff are paid the lowest possible wages.

“A private employer will maximise profits and at the same time the people of Sheffield will be deprived of a service to get people who have been in hospital safely home as quickly as possible.”

A date has not yet be set for the scrutiny board debate.