Care unit closure under scrutiny

CAMPAIGNERS against the closure of a Wombwell care facility, have welcomed news of a planned visit by councillors and local MPs.

Barnsley Council’s Scrutiny Commission met with all the authorities linked to the possible closure last week, and plan a visit to Highfield Grange to speak to patients and their families themselves about the proposals.

Up to 70 staff jobs are at risk at the intermediate care centre, that is set to shut in March next year. The centre is run jointly by Barnsley Council and NHS Barnsley.

Unions GMB and Unison have opposed the closure of what is the last remaining unit of its kind in Barnsley.

GMB spokesman Henry Rajch said: “The council’s Personal and Family Wellbeing Scrutiny Commission say they’ll listen to older people - good because older people are telling us what a wonderful place Highfield Grange is and that it should stay open.

“We are confident a positive response will be found as we have discovered while petitioning to Save Highfield Grange. Our petition has over 1,200 signatures and we shall be handing these to the chair of the Personal and Family Wellbeing Scrutiny Commission, Coun Jennifer Worton at a future time”.

Coun Worton said: “It is important that the reasons behind this decision are properly scrutinised and that we are sure they really do make sense, We need to make sure that adequate provision is available if Highfield Grange does close on March 31.

“We don’t want our older people to have to stay in hospital longer than they need because services are inadequate, nor do we want them to be admitted to hospital if avoidable.

“It is our job as councillors to get to the bottom of the problem, to try and find a solution, and also to make sure that the voices of older people who use intermediate care services are heard”.

Anyone who would like to share their views with the commission should contact Elizabeth Barnard on 01226 773066 or at: ElizabethBarnard@Barnsley.gov.uk