SENIOR Leeds City councillors must review their decision to approve the closure of three local authority-run care homes, a watchdog committee ruled today
One councillor told a special meeting of the council’s adult social services scrutiny board that transferring residents to private sector care was like playing “Russian roulette” with their care.
Members of the council’s executive board voted last month to approve the closure of Middlecross care home, in Armley, Siegen Manor, in Morley, and The Green in Seacroft, and their associated day centres.
A cross party group of councillors submitted ‘call in requests’ asking the council’s adult social services scrutiny board to examine the executive board’s decision.
Members of the scrutiny board today voted six to four in favour of sending the decision back to the executive board to reconsider.
Councillors watched a short film featuring East Leeds Leeds Labour MP Richard Burgon and the stories of families campaigning to save The Green care home in Seacroft.
The council is looking to save more than £1.9m a year by closing the homes and contract the residents’ care out to the private sector.
Councillors expressed concerns that care in the private sector would not meet the same standards provided in the council-run homes
Coun Robert Finnigan (leader of Morley Borough Independents) signed one of the three call in requests.
Coun Finnigan told the meeting: “The provision of alternative independent sector care homes of the appropriate quality are a big issue and we are not there at this particular point.
“We are playing a certain level of Russian roulette as to whether you do or you do or don’t get a decent alternative home at this particular point.”
Coun Finnigan added: “Nobody is suggesting that these buildings need to remain open for ever. What we are saying is we are not at that particular point where perhaps some of these residents can go into alternative accommodation. “Certainly we should be looking for them to get the best standard that is available in the independent sector and it is at the very least patchy in the independent sector.”
Lindsey Cannon’s 83-year-old mother-in-law Margaret, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia, is being cared for at The Green, Seacroft.
Mrs Cannon said after the meeting: “We got the result that we hoped for and now we just hope that the executive board listens this time. There really is no point having a scrutiny board if they don’t.”
The council’s plans would see the Siegen Manor site earmarked for an extra care housing development and The Green retained as a “community asset” that could potentially host intermediate care or recovery beds for the NHS in Leeds.
Leeds City Council has said the local authority must cut costs due to government funding cuts and that every resident of the three care homes would be guaranteed the same level of care in a setting equal or better than they currently receive.
The closures are proposed following the recent council decision to shut down Manorfield House residential home in Horsforth.