Care centres and dozens of jobs under threat

11/10/11- Mount Denys Care Home, Hastings
11/10/11- Mount Denys Care Home, Hastings

DOZENS of jobs could be under threat and elderly clients left with nowhere to go if the county council decides to close a nursing home and two day care centres.

The Mount Denys Care Home in The Ridge, the Isobel Blackman Centre in the Old Town and the Pine Hill in the Ridge are part of a review taking place at County Hall in Lewes today (FRI).

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The IB Centre is the only one of its kind in Hastings following the cloure of the Morton Centre in St Leonards.

Pine Hill caters for the mentally infirm and those with serious dementia issues.

The authority is charged with having to save £27.8 from adult social care.

A report due to be discussed before the cabinet today recommends a consultation period of four months for Mount Denys.

Written by Keith Hinkley, director of adult social care, it asks members to agree to “consult on the proposal that Mount Denys in Hastings should close and the current services are re-commissioned from the independent sector.”

The report states savings of between £120,000 to £170,000 could be made.

Cabinet will also consider Mr Hinkley’s recommendation to change the way the IB Centre and Pine Hill Centre are run.

Members will be recommended to review the centres to either develop or charge their provision, close down and expect the voluntary sector to run them or leave them as they are. A consultation period will take place with a report back to cabinet on December 10.

Both consultations will involve clients, carers, staff, voluntary and community organisations, independent sector and staff.

The move has sparked outrage in Hastings.

County councillor Michael Wincott, who represents Baird ward, said: “I fear it’s a foregone conclusion.

“It’s a valuable resource to the community and yet again Hastings is on the front line. There are three centres under threat here.

“Why must we always bare the brunt of any cutbacks. The councillors making these decisions don’t even live anywhere near here.

“It’s the most vulnerable members of our community that are being targeted again.

“How can it be run privately - I’m not confident at all the private or charity sectory will be able to meet the needes of these clients.

“It’s a disgraceful situation.”

Steve Hare, Age UK East Sussex, chief executive: “It rings alam bells.

“I haven’t seen the evidence that says the independent or community sector can accommodate these people.

“Vulnerable people are dependent on these proposals and there’s nothing that might meet the needs of these people here.

“Mount Denys clients are among the most vulnerable in the community. That change could be very upsetting and distressing for them.

“We will raise our concerns.”

Pensioner Millicent Turnbull, who uses the Isobel Blackman Centre said: “If you close places like this down, where are the old people going to go?

“They will be trapped in their own houses.

“If you live alone you do not see anybody. This is a life line.”

Old Town councillor John Hodges said: “I have doubts about how the voluntary and independent sector can take up the role.

“How will they be able to afford an alternative.The users and the carers will lose out.

“What will happen to the buildings. People in Mt Denys have dementia and alzheimers - where are they going to go?

“This is front line services being attacked again in Hasttings just like the Ridge Fire Station.

“We must we defend the vulnerable and the elderly to the hilt. They always seem to be easy fodder. Mr Hinkley has forgotten about the carers and the respite they get from their loved ones using therse centres. It is totally wrong.”

Karen Bowles, spokeswoman for ESCC, said: “There are 59 members of staff at Mount Denys and, should a review be agreed on Friday,

their views will be sought in consultation.

“It is important to remember that no decisions have been made and Friday’s meeting is an opportunity for a full discussion.”