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Green Councillors challenge decision to privatise dementia care

Councillors Jillian Creasy and Rob Murphy
Sheffield City Council has announced its intention to put dementia services at the last remaining Council residential unit, Hurlfield View, out to tender.

The unit provides 20 beds and 7 day-a-week day services for over 200 users. It is currently run by the Health and Social Care Trust, which is part of the NHS. The council aims to cut costs by 25% and intends to do so by bringing in a private provider and reducing the day-care service element.

But Green Councillors have signed a formal request to “call in” the decision to the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board for further scrutiny.

Cllr Creasy, leader of the Green Group on Sheffield City Council and national health spokesperson for the Green Party, said,

“We have many questions about this report and I don’t want the decision to go through until they have been answered.

“The Health and Social Care Trust have said they cannot provide the same service for less money, so how can a private company, which also makes a profit from the contract, do so? The unit also works closely with teams which provide emergency home care or residential care in order to keep people out of hospital.

“If these are put at risk by the new arrangements, it will create more pressure on hospital beds and simply compound the current crisis in A&E. Part of the plan is to reduce the amount of day care at Hurlfield View and provide it nearer to people’s homes instead, but the report doesn’t explain how that will be funded or organised.”

“Overall, I think this is a prime example of how cutting costs in one area – residential and day care for people with severe dementia – is likely to lead to more demand elsewhere. As a GP, I cannot stress the importance of having a joined up approach to healthcare. Yet this decision could have exactly the opposite effect, making care worse and ultimately costing the city council and the NHS more money. Cutting corners today could lead to chaos tomorrow – and that is why I have demanded further scrutiny on this decision by the Council.”

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Topics: Council, Cuts, Disabilities, Health, Jillian Creasy, People with disabilities, Privatisation