Save our Services in Surrey Press Release re Surrey Council recommendation to close Surrey Care Homes

Press Release from Save our Services in Surrey

CONSULTATION RESPONSES IGNORED AS COUNCIL PREPARES TO CONTINUE WITH CUTS

MASS LOBBY OF THE SURREY CABINET MEETING ON 10 MARCH at 2.30PM

Cobgates Lobby

Despite nearly 4,500 people signing a petition, over 400 written responses, two packed public meetings and a protest walk through Reigate, the Surrey County Council Cabinet look set to rubber stamp the closure of all six of their in-house care homes on Tuesday.

Brockhurst in Ottershaw, Cobgates in Farnham, Dormers in Caterham, Longfield in Cranleigh, Park Hall in Reigate and Pinehurst in Camberley are ALL set to close if the cabinet accepts the recommendations from the review.

Residents, residents and staff have been in tears after hearing this news on Monday. Many had felt that the logic of their arguments and the strength of their campaigning was having an effect. The consultation responses could not have been clearer. The overwhelming majority of respondents wanted the homes to ‘remain as is (option 1)’ or to ‘be extended and refurbished (option 2)’. Only 31 responses out of 470 supported option 4, closing the homes.

What did come out clearly from the consultation is overwhelming praise for the staff in the six homes. “Generally, respondents praised staff for the way they looked after their loved ones, and gave less weight to having modern accommodation with better bathroom and toilet facilities, hoists and more efficient heating and electrical systems”. There was a high degree of fear over the perceived quality of care in private or ‘independent’ care homes. Recent horror stories such as the forced closure of the Marok Care Home in Banstead have not helped allay these fears. People are also concerned about the potential negative impact on residents and the potential loss of valuable and experienced staff. The loss of various facilities available at the homes, such as respite care, dementia services, learning disability services etc. was also a key point of concern.

The Cabinet on Tuesday will decide whether to go ahead with these closures, despite the overwhelming opposition of residents, relatives, staff and the local community.

There will be a major protest lobby outside the cabinet from 12.30pm till 2pm (meeting starts at 2pm) at County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston.

Buses have been booked from at least two of the care homes.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, Save Our Services in Surrey will not give up the fight to protect these valued and loved local services. We will be meeting on Tuesday 23rd March at 7pm in the Maybury Centre in Woking to discuss ‘What Now for Surrey Care Homes’ – all welcome.

Paul Couchman
Secretary of Surrey County UNISON
Secretary of Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSiS)
www.sosis.org.uk

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