Healthcare Homes Ltd will be closing the Home Close Day Centre for the elderly on 31 October 2010.
The Day Centre in Fulbourn has been successful in providing a vital lifeline for our community-based elderly to meet with friends and take part in group activities while offering important respite for Carers and loved ones. If we let it go now, it will be gone forever.
The closure is due to the last government introducing individual budgets for care (Self-directed Support). Cambridgeshire County Council can no longer enter into BLOCK contracts for day care facilities with private healthcare providers. Instead, SPOT bookings must be made using individual care budgets. Healthcare Homes Ltd are not willing to accept the new system of Spot Bookings, and no doubt there will be other private healthcare providers who decide to close day centres attached to residential homes.
What we are Doing
Meetings have taken place with James Paice MP and with Rod Craig, Executive Director of Community and Adult Services. James Paice has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP, to set out the problem caused by the change from Block Contracts to Spot Bookings.
Rod Craig attended the Fulbourn Parish Council meeting in June and the Parish Council have formed a Steering Group to look into the feasibility of continuing to provide Day Care within the village, and alternative venues have been identified for consideration
In the meantime the County Council are assessing the needs of the current users of Home Close Day Centre and finding spaces for them in alternative Day Centres in Cambridge, Linton, Sawston and Bottisham. This is not at all satisfactory for our elderly and vulnerable folk who:
- Will not be able to attend the same Day Centre each day - they may have Mondays and Fridays at one and Wednesdays at another.
- Will not be able to maintain friendships that they have developed at the Home Close Day Centre.
- Will have longer travelling time - for many this means spending over an hour on the bus each day.
We are all living longer, but this can come at a heavy price with debilitating conditions. However, they can be managed successfully, but require huge amounts of love and devotion from others. Day Centres provide a vital lifeline for our elderly to meet and take part in group activities, while giving essential respite for carers (6 million unpaid carers in the UK are saving the country £87 billion per annum).
There are currently 34 of our elderly who attend Home Close Day Centre regularly, that's 45% of Fulbourn's population over 84 (based on the 2001 Parish Census). There are probably many more who would like to atend a Day Centre in the village but either don't know or how to apply - if you know anyone who may benefit from Day Care in Fulbourn, please let us know so that we can help you. [Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll pass the message on - Ed.]
Home Close Day Centre is supported by a team of dedicated, well-trained staff, some of them have been at the centre since it first opened. The care and consideration given by the staff has transformed the lives of those attending the Day Centre - here are just a few comments from some of the users:
"Whoever suggested the closure of the Day Centre cannot imagine the pleasure and contentment that the visits promote. All I can say is that one day they will be old and disabled - what will they do?"
"Attending the Day Centre has done my grandmother the world of good, sho loves socialising and having space to do her own thing. Also it provides a break for us the family as we have busy lives and unfortunately cannot spend seven days a week with her."
"I attend the Day Centre three days a week and it has helped me enormously, meeting new people and finding new interests."
"My aunt is deaf and registered blind. Going to the Day Centre has been a lifeline to her as I am sure it has been to many elderly people in Fulbourn. She tells me that the staff are so very kind and helpful, and that she feels she would find it very difficult to go elsewhere because of her disability."
Pope John Paul II said, "Society will be judged on the basis of how it treats the weak, vulnerable and dying." The potential loss of a Day Centre in Fulbourn is judgement day for the residents of our village.
The campaign group met with Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley and presented him with a petition signed by 658 villagers (that’s around 35% of all households in Fulbourn). The petition supports the Friends of Fulbourn Day Centre campaign to maintain a Day Care facility for the elderly in Fulbourn.
The problem, as always, is funding. Healthcare Homes no longer wish to offer Day Care because CCC has withdrawn their block contract. Now CCC have introduced “means testing” for Day Care which means that many of our elderly will now need to cover the full cost of care. CCC have calculated this cost to be between £25 - £30 per day – a big step up from the £6.40 they pay at present.
The Coalition Government pledge in their manifesto to “help elderly people live at home for longer” through “community support programmes” but even with the best will in the world you can’t start a community project that has outgoings in excess of £50k per year without an initial injection of cash. That was my argument to the Health Secretary!
If you'd like to know more about the campaign to save Home Close Day Centre, please feel free to leave a comment below, or else email email@example.com and I'll pass on the message - Ed.