Fight to keep St Michael's Care Home open is lost
A CITY care centre faces almost certain closure – despite fears that vulnerable residents cannot be given the same quality service in their own homes.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is to shut the 30-bed rehabilitation centre at St Michael's, in Chell, to save an initial £883,000 as part of £21.1 million cuts.
A scrutiny committee responsible for examining the plans voted in favour of closure. But two members of the ruling Labour group refused to support it.
The city council says it can provide a better and cheaper rehabilitation service in people's own homes and that half of the 60 staff affected may be employed in the new home-based service.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
St Michael's helps vulnerable patients rehearse basic skills before returning home, usually after a spell in hospital.
Labour's Debra Gratton, who was censured for walking out of last year's budget vote, joined independent councillors Jackie Barnes and Ann James to vote against closure.
Mrs Gratton said: "I'm not convinced it can make a cost saving in the long run with the information officers have provided.
"They haven't convinced me this service will be better in the community.
"The work they do is very important. You don't necessarily get fit when you are medically fit.
"If somebody has broken their hip or had an accident they have to relearn how to stand up, how to walk alone, how to get upstairs. It doesn't come naturally.
"They have access to 24-hour support, occupational therapy and physios and I don't see how the same can be done in people's homes."
Fellow Labour councillor Debbie Wheeldon also abstained, but the cut was passed by four votes to three.
Olwyn Tams, who has collected a signature of more than 1,000 names against the closure, told the committee: "Vulnerable people have very different social care needs which can't always be met safely without 24-hour supervision.
"Closing St Michael's will be a false economy and in another 12 months it will cost the council dearly.
"Some of the people who go into St Michael's need 24-hour care and the cost of providing that in people's homes will be much greater."
The committee heard from Jenny Jones, aged 50, who has been at St Michael's since suffering a brain aneurysm while living with a friend in Norton.
She said: "My friend's home is not appropriate for my needs and, without St Michael's, I would have had nowhere else to go.
"I have still got a long way to go, but what I have witnessed in that centre is absolutely outstanding care.
"The work they are doing is fantastic and those carers deserve to keep their jobs and for that centre to stay open."
Christine Whitehead, assistant director of adult social care, said: "A lot of people don't need 24-hour services and we will make sure there is 24-hour support for those who need it.
"St Michael's has provided a good service but it's not cost effective. It's very expensive and by investing some of that money we can provide as good and I would argue a better service for people in their own homes."