Hadleigh: Care home closure concerns

CONCERNS have been raised for the welfare of residents of a council-owned care home, which is likely to be transferred to a private operator.

Suffolk County Council’s decision to transfer its 16 residential homes to Care UK is due to be reconsidered at a special meeting of the county’s scrutiny committee within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, Hadleigh town councillors have voiced their fears about the planned closure of Angel Court, which is home to 29 elderly people, many with dementia.

At a meeting on Thursday, councillor Penny Cook said it would be a “disaster” if Angel Court residents – many of whom had lived in Hadleigh all their lives – were forced to move away from their home town and relatives, to a privately-run complex in Ipswich.

She said: “It’s obviously going to be extremely distressing for the people of Hadleigh considering the number of dementia patients at Angel Court. Care homes like that are local and relatives and friends can get to them easily without having to make a special journey. We have three other care facilities in this town but only one is in the town centre and accessible for families.”

Miss Cook urged the council to write to the county, adding: “Costs for private care are phenomenal and I would like an assurance from the county that they will meet the costs so that residents can stay in Hadleigh at the same rates they are paying now, rather than them being shifted 10 miles down the road.”

Her colleague Richard Whiting accused the county of having a “callous” approach to its care home residents, adding: “Moving old and infirm people around can cost lives. I feel the whole approach to this is not humane.”

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County and town councillor David Grutchfield said he had visited Angel Court to see those who would be affected by the proposed change. He added: “It is so important for these people to be allowed to stay in their home town so that they maintain local connections. If they move them to Ipswich, then that will be lost.”

Colin Noble, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council said: “We are dealing with people’s homes and must not lose sight of that. I fully understand that change for older and vulnerable people can be extremely unsettling.

“As part of the debate at Cabinet, I was clear that if the proposals were agreed, residents would be allocated a social care worker to support them in making the decisions that work best for them as an individual. I also made the point that customers would continue to be funded in exactly the same way.”

He added: “Plans remain in place to transfer the homes and wellbeing centres to Care UK but we must await the decision of the scrutiny committee.”

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