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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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MP hits out at Distington care home closure consultation

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has hit out at the county council’s failure to consult over plans to close the Woodlands home in Distington.

Jamie Reed photo
Jamie Reed

Mr Reed claimed the process was flawed and that no consultation “worthy of the name” has taken place.

The home, with Workington’s Richmond Park and Aspatria’s Park Lodge homes, is under threat because the county council said they were no longer fit for purpose. But Mr Reed added: “The staff, residents and families associated with Woodlands deserve much better than the treatment currently being given to them by the county council in what is beginning to prove an emerging scandal.

“I have met with families and staff and it’s absolutely clear that no consultation worthy of the name has taken place. This consultation process is flawed, subject to legal challenge and should be stopped without delay.

“Significant evidence shows – and I’ve yet to hear this disputed – that home closures and the dispersal of residents leads to deaths. This is the fear that hangs over the Woodlands families.

“I am calling on the council to come clean on its closure plans for Woodlands and all of its other homes, and for it to restate its commitment to Cumbria Care, formally and in detail.

“Finally, for the council to change adult elderly care in any way in a framework of crisis in the NHS, then it produce a detailed plan that illustrates how much care home closures will cost, how replacement services will be funded, who they will be funded by and what the impacts of this upon the NHS will be.”

The county council said: “We’ve met with residents, families and staff regularly throughout the period, in addition to the public meetings and drop-in sessions and they have been able to make their views known through a number of other avenues.

“There are no firm timescales for any closures as it is all subject to the decision being made. We would not assess the needs of the residents until a decision is taken and because their needs may change over the coming months. We have to look at the level of need and provision across each area, both from Cumbria Care and the independent sector, and in Allerdale we have a surplus of places.

"The proposed changes are not a cost-cutting exercise as we would look to invest in alternative services that support people to stay as independent as possible.”

The results of the consultation process will now be analysed by an independent agency that will report back to the council’s cabinet for the final say. A decision is expected before the summer.

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