The current consultation will help the council to understand the views of care home residents, their families and carers, as well as staff and a host of other interested groups and organisations on whether in-house residential care is fit for purpose and value for money.
At a time of significant financial constraints it is right to consider these important questions and to ensure that everybody’s points of view are listened to.
This consultation will be completed with great care and the results will be made public before any final decision is made.
We are organising this lobby of the full council to get across the message that they must take factors other than finance into account. The council really must put compassion before cash. UNISON urges everyone in Durham who cares about the care homes to tell the council what they think, to make it clear that the people of Durham do not want to see these homes closed down.
UNISON's fear is that the council will put financial considerations above all else and go for the option of closing the homes. These establisments are home to frail and vulnerable people, forcing them to move will cause great distress and damage, for some it could even shorten their lives. And the jobs of the 170 staff who care for them are at risk. There will be little chance of finding them other jobs at the council if all the homes do close. The council really must put compassion before cash.
Members of Unison and the GMB union are gathering outside Durham's County Hall to lobby the council over proposals to close five care homes. The unions have invited the families of those who use the care homes to join them. They'll lobby councillors attending a meeting of the full council.
The future of five care homes in County Durham is up for public debate from today.
The council says budget restrictions means it is considering a number of options for the future of the following homes.
Cheveley House, in Belmont
Feryemount, in Ferryhill
Grampian House, in Peterlee
Mendip House, in Chester-le-Street
Newtown House, in Stanhope
The options being considered are:
Retain the five homes and carry out repairs and maintenance.
Close the homes and find alternative accommodation for the residents.
Look for other interested parties who may want to take over the management of the homes.
At a time of significant financial constraints, we need to consider whether our in-house residential homes are fit for purpose and value for money.
However, it is extremely important that when making any decision on the future of our care homes, we consider the views of not only of those currently living in them but also their carers, family members, staff and other relevant organisations and individuals.
The trade union Unison said it would fight the possible closure of five care homes in County Durham "all the way".
We are fearful for our members and for the people living in the care homes. We will fight this all the way.
Durham County Council announced yesterday it was considering the future of the homes. It will consult with the public about whether to retain the homes, transfer ownership to external organisations, or close them and move residents elsewhere.