Lib Dems Say Carlton Day Centre Closure Is 'Immoral'

Pledge to challenge the Ealing Council decision


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The decision to close the Carlton Road Day Centre was "probably the most immoral decision ever made by Ealing Council," according to local Lib Dem Cllr Gary Malcolm.

Local MP Angie Bray has also criticised the decision and said it meant people would have to transfer to more expensive care elsewhere.

Ealing Council's cabinet committee last night (Jan 20) voted to close the Carlton Road Day Centre which provides a service to profoundly disabled users and their carers. Locals have been campaigning for months to pursuade the Council to change its mind.

MP Angie Bray said; "I do query the priorities of Labour-run Ealing Council. Facilities like the Carlton Road Day Care Centre provide much-needed support not least for the carers themselves. It is also so short-termist as without care centres like this, some who depend on it will simply have to transfer to more expensive care elsewhere"

Councillor Gary Malcolm, said : "All of the Labour councillors should hang their heads in shame. The service that the profoundly disabled users and carers will get, will not be anywhere as good as they are currently provided with.

"The Liberal Democrats will challenge the decision even if it just delays this decision. The cost of running the service is only a small share of the overall Council spend and they clearly have not investigated all the options for users. This is probably the most immoral decision that Ealing Council has ever made."

The Council plans to outsource the care to private companies in Ealing and Hounslow boroughs. It clams the annual cost saving from closing Carlton Road would be £200,000.

Those opposed to closure claim that if just one of the 30 severely disabled service users had to be put in full time residential care because their carer could no longer cope, the cost to Ealing Council per person would equal that. They say carers, staff and service users have been together for 30 years and that staff help carers access NHS and various other services for those who attend the centre. 

Carlton Road is a day care centre for people with severe mental, physical and learning disabilities. There are 30 service users who live at home with their parents or other carers. As all users require 24 hour care the day centre provides the only break and support carers have. The weekday care service users receive allows carers time to go to the grocery store, attend personal medical appointments, etc. or simply get out of the house.

It is claimed that Carlton Road most of the now elderly carers would not be able to cope with the full time responsibility of care and many of the service users could end up in full time residential care as a result at a cost to the council of £200,000 per annum per user.

The Conservatives say that Carlton Road has been in Ealing Council's property strategy all along and realising the capital value of the site may well be why they have decided to close it..

Consistent with meeting their statutory obligations, Ealing Council cannot close a disability service centre without ensuring replacement services are available. Mencap publicly stated at Health & Adult Services O&S in December that there are no other equivalent services available in Ealing.

The Conservative believe that the council wanted to take a final decision about the long-term closure of the Centre before April 2015 when the Care Act takes effect. The Care Act gives greater legal support and protection for carers and puts them on the same statutory footing as those they care for. So in practice it would not be possible to close the Carlton Road Centre without first putting in place an equivalent replacement service.

A council spokesperson said when asked about the possible closure last year: “The council is facing unprecedented cuts to the money it receives from central government to run its services; a cut of more than 50% over the decade. In addition, a growing population and increased costs, mean we must reduce our budgets by £96 million by 2019. This is on top of the £87 million in savings that we have already made over the past four years. The scale of these cuts will mean the end of some services and for others to change beyond recognition.

However critics of the decision also point to the fact that Ealing Council spent over £80million on agency staff and consultants when they believe money could have been earmarked for keeping the Day Centre open.


January 21, 2015

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