A woman whose mother is in a Kirklees Council-run dementia care home threatened with closure has disputed some of the council’s claims and assumptions.

The council is looking to shut its two remaining long-term residential care homes for elderly people with dementia in a bid to save around £1.8 million a year.

The council says both Castle Grange at Newsome and Claremont House in Heckmondwike have a capacity of 40 but there are only 46 residents across the two homes.

The two homes cost just short of £500,000 a year to run but if the council paid for 70 places in privately-run homes, the cost would be £3.1 million, a saving of £1.8 million.

In an e-mail to Huddersfield Hub, the daughter of a resident said there was “another side” to what the council was saying. Describing the situation as “desperate” she said:

  • Kirklees are stating that the homes are not at full capacity and out of the 80 beds, only 46 are occupied. This indicates that there isn’t a demand for them. However, this is incorrect. Kirklees will not allow the homes to fill the beds. There is a demand and the homes receive enquiries for the beds daily but have to turn people away;
  • Kirklees says providing care in the private sector is cheaper but this is not a like-for-like comparison, so the figures are incorrect. They say there are 57 homes in the private sector, so there is availability to look after the residents but only 20 of these have had a full inspection in the last three years and are rated good;
  • Kirklees have just this year spent thousands of pounds on refurbishing the kitchen at Claremont House and also upgrading some of the rooms;
  • Kirklees have had meetings with service users’ families but are not in any way considering the well-being of the residents and the effect moving them from their home will have on their health. The residents have dementia and, in many cases, other medical needs, some of which are complex. These are not being taken into account and moving them from their home will have a detrimental effect on their health and indeed lifespan.

A report to the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday September 26 is seeking approval for a 12-week public consultation on the proposed closures.

Around 128 staff are affected but the council says they could be redeployed into other care jobs within the council or find jobs in the independent care sector which has a shortage of staff.

The report also says the two homes need around £550,000 spending on them.

When asked to comment on the claims, the council issued the following statement.

“The council agreed its medium-term budget strategy on September 13. The strategy sets out how the authority will achieve a balanced budget for the next financial year. A key part of the plan includes bringing forward budget savings proposals, which the Cabinet will consider this week.

“No final decisions have been taken on any of the proposals. Cabinet members will consider all the issues and engage with residents where appropriate, before coming to any conclusions.”

The Cabinet meeting will examine a package of measures to slash costs which include closing three leisure centres – Colne Valley Leisure Centre at Slaithwaite, Dewsbury Sports Centre and Batley Sports & Tennis Centre at Howden Clough – along with mothballing Cleckheaton Town Hall and shutting the historic Batley Library building and moving the library into Batley Town Hall.

Public sector union UNISION has already pledged to fight the cuts and UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Robin Symonds said: “This is a clear example of Kirklees residents suffering as a result of 13 years of cuts to council budgets by the Conservative government.

“Kirklees Council needs to find a way to address the shortfall without cutting key services, causing residents to suffer.

“UNISON Kirklees will be holding a lobby ahead of the council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday against any proposed closures of care homes and leisure centres.

“These important services shouldn’t be cut, and the people of Kirklees shouldn’t suffer, because of efforts to clean up the mess created by the Tories.”