Cheshire East Council is proposing that respite beds for patients with dementia at Lincoln House in Crewe and Hollins View in Macclesfield should be moved to the independent sector as part of their wider dementia care strategy to meet the needs of Cheshire East residents up to 2020.
Lincoln House currently provides short-term respite care, working closely with families and the NHS, and for many sufferers with dementia it is the ‘bridge’ between diagnosis and full time dementia care. There are currently 12 beds allocated for dementia care at Lincoln House.
There are concerns that privatisation, as an option to be considered by the Council, could lead to a watering down of the terms and conditions for the carers. Even worse, complete closure of Lincoln House would lead to almost certain redundancies and the loss of a valued and effective community centre.
During the recent public consultation, Cllr Dorothy Flude, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, handed in to Cheshire East Council a petition of nearly 1,500 hundred signatures against the proposal. She said “We are all hoping that Cheshire East will take note and not close such a well used facility with a staff group who provide an outstanding service to both people with dementia and their carers.”
For other Councillors in Crewe, it is both a personal and political matter. Mother and son, Crewe Town Councillors, Cllr Suzanne Brookfield and Cllr Damian Bailey had their Father (and Grandfather) receive respite care at Lincoln House when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2014. Cllr Damian Bailey said, “This threat is yet another sad indictment of a Tory Council ideologically motivated to attack our cherished public services. My Grandad, my best friend, received first class care at Lincoln House and the fact that this is now at risk for others in the same situation is deeply saddening”.
Local carers have, in private, voiced their own concerns and fears for their own jobs but have signed confidentiality agreements and so could be in danger of losing their jobs if they do go public. A decision about the future of Lincoln House and Hollins View is expected in November.
Speaking at the Cheshire East Council Cabinet meeting on 14/10/14 when the Council’s Adult Social Care Commissioning Strategy was discussed, Cllr Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield East, said, “Some councillors certainly feel that it is not right at this stage to put our own residential care homes under threat.
Within this strategy there is the suggestion that we could rely completely and utterly for all our care needs on the private sector. I do not think that it is right to do that at this time”
Cllr. Sam Corcoran