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Conservatives condemned over consultation on care home closure

by awitherick on 25 February, 2012

Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative Administration at the County Council of failing to consult properly on the planned closure of Jane Campbell House in St Albans, which also has worrying implications for other care homes in Hertfordshire.

Jane Campbell House pictureEven though the care home has an occupancy rate approaching 100%, the County Council has declared that it is ‘having problems finding occupants’ and that it ‘is no longer economically viable’. The introduction of en suite accommodation, planned by the County Council, is impossible on the current site, which has led to the proposed sale of the land.

Lib Dem County Councillor Allan Witherick, whose St Albans North division includes Jane Campbell House, said: ‘Elderly residents and their careers have had next to no notice about the plans. The first they knew about this was on January 16th, when carers were “consulted” on the plans. The Conservative administration will be voting on the plans on February 20th. That’s not a consultation – effectively, the meeting was advising people what was going to happen.

‘I’ve heard that a number of carers moved their relatives into Jane Campbell House from homes with en suite accommodation. I was told this was because it provided a better level of care, so I have to question why more time hasn’t been spent engaging with the families concerned; the Conservatives must have known the home was at risk of closure for some time!’

Ron Tindall, the Herts Lib Dem Group’s Health and Adult Care spokesperson, said ‘Meaningful and caring consultation with all concerned – including relatives and carers – is the key to a successful transfer of our vulnerable residents and should be a permanent stage in any process.’

Welwyn Councillor Malcom Cowan, who attended the Cabinet Panel on January 31st when the plans were discussed, added: ‘There is a danger that this won’t be an isolated issue and that eventually it could affect other care homes right across Hertfordshire. We have sought assurances that the quality of care will be continued and that there’s proper support during the transition arrangements. We know how valuable friendship groups can be and these, in particular, need to be preserved wherever possible.’

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