The Conservative Cabinet of Herts County Council will be meeting on Monday, March 19th, to decide whether to sell off yet another care home. In a close echo of the sell-off of Jane Campbell House in St Albans, the Hyde Valley Residential Care Home in Welwyn Garden City also has an occupation rate approaching 100%, and in addition the Council's own report clearly states that 'it is a very popular day service'.
Malcolm Cowan, the local Lib Dem County Councillor, said: "When any local service is threatened with closure, we in the Liberal Democrats look closely at what the impact will be, both on the existing users and on potential future users. The County Council needs to do more to involve residents and carers at an early stage, identifying why these services were so highly rated by their users and how they will ensure that this is continued after the changes are implemented."
Lib Dem County Councillor Allan Witherick, who has been monitoring the issue of care homes closely since Jane Campbell House was consigned for disposal in February, said:
"Both this care home and Jane Campbell House had nearly 100% occupation, as well as outstanding standards of care, and yet one has been shut down already and the other looks almost certain to go as well. It appears that doing a good job looking after our elderly and vulnerable is no longer enough for Hertfordshire County Council if you're not generating them enough cash.
"Improvements to the service do clearly need to be made, but we must ensure that the benefits outweigh the impact on those for whom we are responsible."
Ron Tindall, the Herts Lib Dem Spokesperson for Health and Adult Care, added "The revelations concerning those cared for in their own home couldn't be more timely. For elderly people, their carers and families, to whom the quality of care is paramount, knowing that it's being provided in a care home, where it can be checked and monitored more easily, is invaluable.
"However, we will work to ensure that the Conservative County Council doesn't just concentrate on selling off our limited assets because homes are 'no longer economically viable from the care contractor operator's position'. With each care home or piece of land they sell, the County Council must prove the case for disrupting the lives of the vulnerable in our care."