U-turn as care home to stay open
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a specialist dementia home from closure have been told there are no plans to shut the facility at present.
And they have been assured by Stoke-on-Trent City Council that the authority does want to retain Marrow House as a specialist centre for people suffering with the disorder in the future.
Relatives of residents at the Meir Hay centre were given the update at a meeting last night, which was attended by around 40 people.
Councillors had initially intended to shut the home, forcing residents to move into privately-run centres from April, but backed down after a public outcry.
The intention was to convert the 36-bed building into a facility for disabled young adults.
Speaking at the meeting, city council assistant social care director Christine Whitehead said: "There are no current intentions to close Marrow House.
"The permanent residents there received a commitment from the council leader in February that they would remain there as long as the home continues to meet their needs.
"The option put forward to change Marrow House to a reablement facility is now not part of the consideration.
"I am as committed as you are to ensure we have got good care for people with dementia in the city and we are looking at a whole range of options around Marrow House to retain specialist provision of dementia care.
"I can't say that will definitely be the case, but that's what the intention is now."
The Forrister Street complex, which is a designated centre of excellent, stopped accepting new residents in February.
But campaigners are fighting to save the home for future users amid concerns the alternatives in the private sector are inadequate.
Councillor Gwen Hassall, cabinet member for social care, said: "We are facing an increased demand for services with a decreasing budget.
"My politics say these services should stay public but we are where we are and the funding is not there, so we have to look at the private sector.
"I know some private sector facilities are not up to standard, but you are going to get that in the private and public sector.
"The council would make sure standards are maintained."
Campaigner Doreen Norton, who is fighting to keep her 86-year-old mother at Marrow House, said: "The good quality homes in the private sector have long waiting lists and extensive top-up fees, which poor people simply can't afford."