Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Anger over Cuts in City's Adult Care; Council Defends Closure Decisions as Campaigners Demand Talks

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Anger over Cuts in City's Adult Care; Council Defends Closure Decisions as Campaigners Demand Talks

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN WARBURTON

FEARS over the state of adult care sparked "crisis talks" after the axe fell on key adult services.

Triggered by the closure of Chirton House Resource Centre in Newcastle, council leaders have faced a furious backlash to cuts being imposed on care for the elderly and vulnerable.

Now, critics have held an "emergency meeting" to discuss what can be done to halt the closure of Westerhope Day Centre, which provides respite care for some of Tyneside's most vulnerable adults.

Spearheaded by Paul Baker, the group criticised the rocketing level of privatisation in Newcastle's adult care services and said it was putting some of the city's most vulnerable at risk.

They said 80% of care in the city was already independent or private and criticised plans by Newcastle City Council to axe an 11.7% subsidy currently offered to those with home care packages.

Today, Mr Baker, who is a member of the Friends of Chirton House campaign group, said: "The decision was taken and it was a knee-jerk reaction.

"Chirton was not due to close until September but it closed in April. There's no alternative for people in the East End and that's not acceptable.

"We demand a comprehensive assessment of the needs of adults in Newcastle and we want those findings made public."

During the emergency summit staged last week, representatives from each party were invited to respond to concerns raised by locals. But representatives from Labour, Conservative and the Lib Dems did not attend. Council chiefs say Chirton House, in Byker, Newcastle, was axed following a plummeting demand for the service over recent years and its closure would streamline services. But critics say the decision was a pennypinching exercise to save cash.

Sean Fahey, regional secretary of the North East Pensioners' Association, told the meeting: "We need far more participation in policy making.

"Democracy is about far more than putting a cross in the box, it needs to be about having an input into the way the council operates."

Furious locals mounted a campaign against the closure - which they claim will leave elderly people out on a limb, but they were unable to stop the move. …

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