Relatives and workers fight to keep Sheffield’s last standing dementia respite centre open

Protesters outside Sheffield Town Hall

By Hannah McDonagh

FAMILY members and staff at a dementia respite facility came out in force in an attempt to keep the service open for their patients.

Hurlfield View is the last of four such centres in Sheffield after the council closed the previous three due to cuts and is now in the process of closing its final facility at the end of this month.

 

Sheffield Health and Social Care (SHSC) made the decision at the end November 2016 to close Hurlfield View, a year before its original contract was suppose to terminate.

Kevan Taylor, chief executive of SHSC, said: “We continue to work closely with Sheffield City Council to support the best interests of our service users and staff. Sheffield City Council are responsible for arranging the provision of alternative care for affected service users and are in regular communication with carers as part of their consultation process.

“Our dedicated staff are fully committed to supporting carers during the transition period.

“We remain committed to retaining the highly skilled workforce currently based at Hurlfield View and are working closely with the staff and their Union representatives to seek alternative employment within the Trust.”

However, family members said they do not have any faith in the Council or Trust as they have only been told in the last week what services will be helping the patients and families from Hurlfield View.

One woman, whose husband has dementia and used to use the services at Hurlfield, said: “I have had to put my husband in full time care now, he was getting to this point anyway as I was unable to keep up with his deteriorating health. However, I do feel the stress and pressure of Hurlfield View closing did make this happen faster and also I had no trust in the ‘help’ that was being provided for us to find new services.”

The UNISON union has been helping run the campaigns and petitions and keeping families in contact about what services will be available for them, which is where many say the council has been failing the families.

Charlie Carruth from UNISON said: “With a financial shortfall of only £300,000 per year we have approached the Community Health Trust and CCG asking to them to contribute with council to fund Hurlfield View and keep it open for a length of contract for two more years, a so-called twin track approach.

“The Trust were prepared to look at it but the CCG came up with the council line on closure, the same old clap trap, but did suggest Hurlfield View had gone beyond what they required, so should close.

“We have continued campaigning and the council announced a couple of weeks ago their alternative service, but when families and carers asked Sheffcare, one of the new providers, about what they could offer, they said they did not do day care nor bookings in advance for respite care which of course Hurlfield View can do.”

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