FAMILIES of patients with mental health illnesses fear relatives will be left without proper support if a care home shuts in a move to save £300,000.

Bradford Council is consulting on the closure of Harbourne Residential Care Home in Wibsey, which offers residential care for older people with dementia and has a day centre run by Bradford District Care Trust.

Brian Keeling has been a full time carer for his mother, Muriel, 87, since she was diagnosed with dementia four years ago. He said it had been a battle for her to get respite or day care - but she now spends two days a week at Harbourne and has also received respite care.

"Having taken nearly four years to get my mother to both the day centres and respite at Harbourne, it would set us back to square one," he said.

"It has not always been easy to deal with and I have not had a holiday or much of a break in that time."

The 61-year-old said he understood the Council had to save money, but shutting the centre, which was built in 1971, would put even more pressure on relatives and the alternative suggested to him - Woodward Court in Allerton - was not suitable.

He has met with management and written to Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe and council leaders, saying he cannot understand proposals to close a home which deals with "the ever increasing number of elderly people being diagnosed with dementia."

The local authority insists no decision has been made.

Janice Simpson, the Council’s Strategic Director for Adult and Community Services, said: “The future of Harbourne House is still under consultation until autumn this year.”

The home, along with Neville Grange in Shipley and Holme View in Holme Wood, has been threatened with closure previously. In January 2013, the Council's executive confirmed those homes would not close until alternative plans wer ein place.

Since then, Neville Grange has shut and an Extra Care facility will be built on the site. Holme View is still open - though it may be consulted on in the future.

Marcia Thomas, of Oakenshaw, uses the day centre at Harbourne. Her husband, and carer, David said: "I think it's appalling, the state of what's going on there.

"The question to ask is, what are you going to do with all of these people if you close things down? You can't just dump them somewhere else."

Mr Thomas said he relied on Brearcliffe Drive facility.

"It's needed. I'm73 and my wife's nearly 73. I'm disabled and it's only a few months since I broke my leg and she was looking after me.

"I can't look after her seven days a week without a day off."

He said knowing his wife could spend a week at Harbourne, where she knew and trusted staff if he needed a longer break, was also important.

Councillor Amir Hussain, the Council's portfolio holder for Adult Services, said there were five full-time residents at Harbourne, which has 27 beds, but the number of people staying for respite care fluctuated.

"We've consulted before and listened to what people have to say, so we just have to see what people's views are and they will be duly considered by myself and the officers and the Executive," he said.

A Council spokesman added: "The Council through its budget setting process resolved to consult on the closure of two of its residential care homes. The first of these homes has been named as Harbourne Residential Care Home."

She said consultation would involve patients and carers, but also a "much wider audience of the general public, voluntary sector organisations and the Bradford District Care Trust."

"At this point the second home to be considered for closure has not been confirmed," she added.