Leeds Hospital Alert, a non-political campaigning group defending the NHS, has hit out at proposals by cash-strapped Leeds City Council to close a care home in Farsley.
Leeds council faces a £119m budget shortfall for 2021/22, which are partly due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on council services and revenue collection.
Part of the proposals to save money include the closure of Richmond House, a 20-bed residential service offering short-term care and support to people who require a period of recovery following a hospital admission. The service also offers support to people from the community to prevent hospital admission.
Leeds Hospital Alert has sent its objection to the proposed closure to councillors sitting on the Outer West Community Committee meeting on 1 January at 1pm about Richmond House.
Their objection states:
“Richmond House, a Leeds City Council care home, should not be closed as there is still a demand for the rehabilitation it provides.
“It is especially needed for people who have dementia and/or need assessment and may be waiting a long time for a care package to be put in place for example after a fall, or being in hospital. This is a long-time at the moment due to the pandemic and when someone needs services to be put in place in their own home.
“1. Richmond House has a reputation second to none for supportive, person-centred and effective rehab care for older people.
2. Successful rehab for older people coming out of hospital is extremely cost-effective for both the NHS and Social Care.
3. The “market” in Care Home/Respite/Rehab accommodation is extremely unstable (and likely to be more so after the pandemic). If Richmond House closes, private provision is unlikely to meet these needs in future.
4. When you break up a good staff team in a care home they are gone forever.
5. Has a full impact assessment been done on the implications of the closure of Richmond House on current and possible future residents’ physical and mental health and rehabilitation potential?
6. What evidence is there that the proposed future placements for people who would have gone to Richmond House will be anymore effective and safe?
7. The Council-employed hospital social workers are working with people in the 4 wards in Beckett Wing at St. James Hospital and Wharfedale General Hospital, outsourced to Villacare, which all “need improvement” according to the latest Care Quality Commission reports. Why not transfer directly to Richmond House, a “good” care home?”
The meeting of Outer West councillors will be streamed live on the LCC YouTube page, which can be accessed via http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx.
The Outer West Committee are inviting submissions from the public on this topic that may be read out during the meeting. The Committee is made up of five Conservative councillors, three Green and one Labour.
Committee members criticised the planned closure of the West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre in Pudsey Park back in November.
The cuts are partly due to extra costs and loss of income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Councils, unlike other areas of the public sector, are not allowed to run at a loss, meaning they must balance budgets within the year. This, says Leeds City Council, leaves it with little flexibility to withstand the blow from Covid-19.
The council also blames reduced funding from central government.
Check out WLD’s Cutswatch series of articles chronicling proposed cuts in West Leeds.