Saturday, 23 February 2013

Council disregard consultation and privitise Care homes

Geoff Juby Spoke out against closure
A year ago I stood out in the cold with Sophie as part of a march to try and save Nelson's court care home here in the Medway towns... Ultimately we failed.

(You can follow the thread of Nelson Court posts here...)

Medway Council have officially sold them off now. Councillor Geoff Juby has released the following press release:

Medway council came under attack last night at the council meeting over its sell off of Nelson Court and Robert Bean Lodge residential homes for dementia sufferers. Cllr Geoff Juby pointed out that all the promises to the staff and the residents and families had been broken and that the consultation process was a costly sham.  Priority was supposed to have been given to a non profit making organisation, and though this criteria was fulfilled by two of the three main bidders the sale was made to a private commercial company based in Dorset.  Cllr Juby said this morning that with meetings held in secret behind closed doors, the whole process had been a complete disgrace and was a stain on Medway Council.  He also adds that the savings the council are hoping to make will eventually become additional costs as the private sector will not cope with the more challenging clients and now there is no fall back position for social services to call on except the more expensive nursing homes.

This is a bad outcome for some of Society's most vulnerable.

As I looked through my old posts I also found the following statement from 3rd March last year:

To not only refuse to allow members of the public to speak or ask questions, but to also refuse to allow another democratically elected councillor to address the committee, is dictatorship of the worst kind.  We are quick to criticise other regimes elsewhere for refusing to listen to the public, but the ruling Tory group have totally ignored the overwhelming public consultation on the matter of our care homes, have gagged their staff and are now gagging other councillors and those members of the public who have come to the meeting.

This whole process seems to be a complete sham. It also seems, as was postulated at the very beginning by various politicos and campaigners - Cllr Jarrett et al. had a plan and they weren't going to deviate from it. Whether this is a fair reflection is open to conjecture.

Local Libdem Councillors (Diana Smith, Geoff Juby and Shelia Kearney) did what they could, as did other opposition Councillors and activists from the Labour Party, Greens and even the Socialist parties. All for nought. The Council didn't want to listen to the people and democracy has been basically shown the middle finger.

Now the decision has been made I just hope that those who are in need of care are taken care of and that the concerns of Cllr Juby, and others are proven unwarranted.

I'd like share a sentiment though; I dread becoming old and infirm in this country and definitely in the Medway towns as our Council just don't seem to care about it's citizens, only the revenue.

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