Families of dementia sufferers who receive "first class" care at Pinehurst home prepared to fight to keep it open
Families of residents at Pinehurst care home in Camberley have said Surrey County Council’s (SCC) signalled intention to close the facility "could be fatal" to many residents.
The comments were made in a series of tense meetings at the Park Road home on Tuesday (November 11) with Philippa Alisiroglu, interim assistant director of adult social care at SCC.
The council has launched a consultation into the future of Pinehurst and five other homes across the county, which are the last that remain under direct council control.
Its cabinet has already indicated, however, that it wants to dispose of the homes, saying the infrastructure was dated and would begin to fall below standard as time went on.
Families of residents at Pinehurst are strongly critical of the plans, saying the home has become a "centre of excellence for dementia care".
Lorna Nash, whose mother lives at Pinehurst, said on Tuesday: “I am angry to learn that Pinehurst might close, and it seems the decision has already been made.
“My mum is very settled at Pinehurst and I would recommend it to anyone for the loving care that the residents receive in this spacious, comfortable home.
“It makes me feel really sad that she will be made to leave this home and the friends she has made there, which is so important at this stage in her life.”
The Bisley resident added: “I feel outraged as, at first glance, it would seem that this is a council money-making opportunity because Pinehurst’s location is prime for redevelopment."
Paul Middleton, whose father suffers from dementia and is a resident at the home, also attended a meeting on Tuesday.
He said the audience listened to Ms Alisiroglu, but the mood darkened when she said there were 24 care homes within a five-mile radius of Pinehurst where residents could be re-homed.
“The council seem to have taken no account of the fact that Pinehurst has become a centre of excellence for dementia care and is the home of choice in the area,” he said.
“Many people voiced concern that the residents are very vulnerable people and the upheaval and break-up of the established friendships and the community spirit of Pinehurst could be fatal in many cases."
Mr Middleton said many audience members were exchanging email addresses after the meeting and that he expected an action group to emerge to try and save the "first class" care home.
A spokesman for SCC said that, as people continue to live longer, their needs have become more complex and this presented a challenge for the existing care homes.
“The physical environments of the homes reduce the ability to deliver a quality service maintaining dignity, and no longer represent best value for money in light of the new CQC (Care Quality Commission) requirements," he said.
The county council consultation period will run until December 19, while the findings will be made public in February.
At a meeting of SCC's cabinet, several members said the six homes across Surrey were ‘not fit for purpose’.
Action group Save Our Services in Surrey has started a petition calling for the homes to remain open.