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Closures should be put on hold
The decision to close down homes for elderly people will always be shrouded heavily in emotions, and Bradford Council’s ongoing consultation on a possible replacement programme for a number of its homes has attracted a lot of criticism.
There is no doubt that moving vulnerable pensioners out of homes will cause them disruption, and this undoubtedly distresses their relatives.
At the same time, though, there is an argument that these homes are not fit for purpose, and the case for replacing them would appear to be a strong one. But what certainly should not be happening is for residents and their families being put in a position where their future is unclear.
It is possible that the three homes under threat – Neville Grange in Shipley, Holme View in Holme Wood and Harbourne in Wibsey – could shut as early as this year once a review is completed. And with no definite plans in the pipeline for replacements, that means the residents will face a very uncertain futures. Already residents from three Council care homes closed last year have, in the majority of cases, had to be moved into private care homes.
Bradford Council should now listen very carefully to the growing number of voices, including that of Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe and the Bradford Older People’s Alliance (Bopa), along with the relatives of those who live in the homes, which say the closures should be halted, at least until the replacement homes are ready.
Having to move elderly and vulnerable residents from homes they know well and are comfortable in will be extremely stressful for them.
It should not be made worse by not knowing where it is they will be moving to. These residents deserve dignity and respect in their old age, and that is a factor that should override all other considerations.
Councillors should now look at putting the closure programme on hold, at least until the new purpose-built care homes are ready for them to move into.