A DECISION by Notts County Council to axe a service used by Hucknall people with dementia has been criticised by members of a carers’ group as “a step backwards”.
The New Outlook building at Sutton-in-Ashfield is due to be closed in June. Meanwhile the council is investing about £7 million in upgrading 14 buildings across Nottinghamshire for use as day centres.
At a special meeting of the Carers In Hucknall group, held at the town’s library, chairman Jim Radburn said New Outlook provided an excellent service.
He added: “I am worried that the experience of its very valuable staff will be lost if they go into general care. If the service is provided in different places, where will the trained staff come from?”
Mr Radburn said New Outlook had helped his late wife, Tina, and himself to cope with dementia.
Another member of the group stressed that people with dementia and those with learning disabilities had their own separate needs and should not be treated in the same place.
A point was also made that the staff of New Outlook went ‘that extra mile’ by helping carers as well as their loved ones.
One carer at the meeting said: “People with dementia need to be able to go into a place where their dignity is preserved.”
Coun Kevin Rostance, of Hucknall, who is the county council’s Cabinet member for adult social care and health, insisted that caring for people with dementia was regarded very much as a frontline service.
He pointed out that New Outlook provided a service for only 12 people. The council’s aim was to spread the service to different parts of the county so that it would be nearer to users’ homes.
Coun Rostance said the council would itself be running the day centres and not inviting tenders from the private sector.
He stressed that the council wanted to utilise the individual expertise of the staff involved while bringing them together as a single team.
He added: “I don’t think anyone is in any doubt that there are rising numbers of people suffering from early-onset dementia. This is something we are trying to address.”
Carers In Hucknall agreed to accept an invitation to visit one of the new day centres, Red Oaks in Rainworth, when it is up and running.