Care home closure would sign residents’ ‘death warrant’

A CONCERNED daughter last night claimed council chiefs would be signing her vulnerable mother’s death warrant if they pushed ahead with plans to close care homes.

Kay Lane said the staff at Lehmann House in Wickham Market had saved her mother Mavis Dootson’s life.

The 69-year-old suffers from dementia and has been in care for just over a year.

She was moved from her home in Saxmundham because it was becoming increasingly apparent that she was unable to look after herself.

Now Mrs Lane, 46, of Boyton, near Woodbridge, fears that the county council’s decision to review the future of its care homes could put her mother’s life at risk.

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Last night she told the EADT: “The care at Lehmann House has been amazing. I know it sounds melodramatic but I really do think they have saved my mother’s life. I truly believe she would not have survived last winter if she had been left on her own.

“At Lehmann House she is in a safe environment. It is huge peace of mind, not only for myself but also for her and the rest of my family.

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“I think it is outrageous that Suffolk County Council could even think of closing this or any other of their homes.”

She added: “I don’t think she could cope with any change. It is a huge concern. There are hundreds of others across the county in the same situation.

“It seems the councillors have no regard for people’s well being. By moving my mother and a majority of the other residents Suffolk County Council, in my opinion they will be signing their death warrants.”

Last week Suffolk County Council’s cabinet agreed to review the operation of its 16 care homes as it looks for ways to save money in the face of looming Government cuts.

It has come up with three options - closing the homes and buying in services from the private sector, selling off all the homes as going concerns or closing six homes - including Lehmann House - and trying to sell off the remaining 10.

A final decision will be taken next March once three months of consultation has been completed.

Colin Noble, county councillor with responsibility for adult care, has said the continuing priority will be to ensure the most vulnerable residents get the best possible level of care.

He assured he would be going to all the care homes to meet people concerned and find out what changes people want to see.

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