Cambridgeshire

Peterborough council care homes closure 'heartbreaking'

A decision to close the last two city council-run care homes in Peterborough has been described by a union as "heartbreaking for residents".

Greenwood House and Welland House have 32 permanent residents plus respite and day care users, and employ 184 staff.

John Toomey, from Unison, said the council had treated a public campaign to keep the homes open "with contempt".

A council spokesman said the decision had not been taken lightly and all other options had been considered.

The council believes closing the care homes could save it £146,000 a month.

Cabinet members voted unanimously for the closures at a meeting earlier.

'Disregarded the people'

The member for adult social care, Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, said: "We have spent a great deal of time weighing up the options, talking to those affected and considering how we can provide the best possible care for our older people now and in the future, with the money we have available to us.

"We believe that residents can receive the care they need in independent sector homes which are modern and therefore have better facilities."

More than 6,000 people signed petitions calling for the homes to remain open.

Mr Toomey, Unison's regional organiser, said: "The decision-making itself was incredible, as barely anyone on the cabinet opened their mouths. It went through without comment.

"They simply disregarded the wishes of the people of Peterborough to keep the homes open.

"For staff and relatives it was a heartbreaking decision. Some of them left in tears."

Greenwood House is expected to close at the end of the month and Welland House by the end of February.

However, the council said neither would close until "suitable alternative provision" had been found for all residents and other users.

At the same meeting the cabinet said it would consider commissioning a "dementia resource centre" for Peterborough.

The decision to close the care homes is subject to a five day call-in period to allow city council members to scrutinise the decision.

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