Doncaster care homes death claim

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Allegations a decision to close all council-run care homes has contributed to the deaths of three residents were made at a heated meeting.

Sprotborough ward councillor Jonathan Wood said the deaths had occurred since the decision to close the seven remaining council-run care homes was made public.

He said: “Moving is the most stressful thing anyone can do, let alone people in their twilight years. It stresses people out to the extent people pass away – it kills them. Three people died while this has been going on and we’ve never got to the bottom of whether this was from stress.”

Mr Woods questioned if the deaths, and the impact the decision had on residents, had been taken into consideration at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee.

The meeting was held after the decisions to close the care homes, a day centre and three social education centres, were ‘called-in’ by eight councillors opposing the plan.

The councillors presented evidence to the committee in the hope of having the decision referred back to the executive for reconsideration.

But a decision was taken at yesterday’s meeting to take no action in relation to the called-in move, after a majority vote.

Members of the Caregate Group attended and boos and shouts of ‘what a sham’ could be heard as the vote to take no further action was made.

Mayor Ros Jones said the decisions had not been made lightly, and made assurances that care homes would not close until people found alternative quality care.

“A full and thorough consultation process was undertaken, files were compiled with people’s responses to the consultation, and concerns raised were taken into account. This was a very hard decision but we have to provide the best care available with the monies we have.

“Assurances have been made that homes will not close until people find quality care.”

The council, which needs to save £109m over the next three years, says closing the homes is in line with its plans to modernise adult social care, with more people being supported to stay in their homes for longer, and residential care being provided independently in a modern setting.

A three-month review is still underway to examine alternative care providers, after it emerged a charity had expressed interest in taking over some of the homes.

Both decisions are set to be challenged with a judicial review in the High Court after some of the protesters consulted a law firm.