Carers booed and shouted down council plans to close Sheffield’s last remaining dementia respite centre.
Hurlfield View in Gleadless, which provides respite for carers and emergency beds for people living with dementia, will close next month after the NHS Health & Social Care Trust ended their contract two years early due to funding issues.
Emotions ran high as councillor Cate McDonald, cabinet member for health, came under fire from campaigners inside Sheffield Town Hall despite saying the council was ‘100 per cent confident’ pre-booked respite places would be available by mid-February at other care homes rated ‘Good’ by the Government.
During Coun McDonald’s response, one carer shouted from the public gallery: “You have no idea what it’s like to be attacked by your own mother!”
Another carer told the meeting there ‘very little’ consultation.
Sue Harding, who presented the 10,000 strong petition calling to reverse the decision said: “The amount to keep Hurlfield open is £300,000. It’s a shame, it’s a scandal and it’s scary.
“We’re going to lose massive expertise and wonderful staff who have served Sheffield for 20, 30 years who’ve looked after our most vulnerable citizens.
“Bed blocking costs £900m a year and yet we’re going to close 20 beds in Sheffield. It should be frightening for us all.”
In the debate, Ecclesall Coun Paul Scriven, spoke about his own mother-in-law who has a severe case of dementia.
He said: “Do not make a mistake which lets the most vulnerable down.
“Think again, put in a service that will work, go back to cabinet and protect the most vulnerable.”
Council leader Julie Dore responded to Coun Scriven's speech as 'crocodile tears'.
A motion to suspend the closure and discuss the proposals at cabinet was voted down 48 to 32 confirming the Hurlfield View will close as planned.
Coun McDonald said: “We are now 100 per cent confident that we will have sufficient pre-bookable respite and day care places available by April 2017. We will be able to start arranging bookings from mid-February and we will be in contact with Hurlfield View users shortly to discuss the alternatives available.
“I understand that people are concerned and want to assure them that all of the providers we are going to be working with are well rated and already providing care and support to people with complex needs and their carers.
“I am also able to confirm that we will be able to support at least as many people as we did before with pre-bookable respite, overnight stays, and day support. These services will also be closer to people’s homes.”