The Independent London Newspaper
19th October 2017

Plea to protect dementia day centre from closure threat

    Social services chief Cllr Georgia Gould (right) disagreed with campaigner Jane Clinton at the Town Hall meeting

    Published: 3 February, 2017
    By RICHARD OSLEY

    CAMPAIGNERS aiming to save a dementia day centre from being axed have accused the Town Hall of using false figures as it outlines the case for its closure.

    Jane Clinton, one of the main organisers of the bid to save the threatened Netherwood Day Centre in West Hampstead, came face to face with Labour’s social services chief ­Georgia Gould at an all-member meeting at the Town Hall on Monday.

    The two strongly disagree on how well used the centre is, and the ­possibility that it could 

    be made available for more dementia sufferers through a clearer referral system.

    Cllr Gould said “official figures” recorded six people using the centre, while Ms Clinton said the true figure is in double figures and that attendance would be even higher if relatives of the 1,600 people in Camden suffering from dementia were made more aware of its services.

    The centre in Netherwood Street has survived two previous attempts to close it, in 2011 and 2012.

    Ms Clinton told councillors: “Netherwood performs minor miracles every week.”

    Camden is currently running a consultation survey on an overhaul which Cllr Gould says would not mean closing the service but moving it to another building – the nearby Kingsgate Centre, which is in line for a modern upgrade. But carers of Netherwood fear their loved ones will be left bewildered and distressed in a bigger building, or what they have called “a centre within a centre”.

    Ms Clinton said: “We believe the figures used to justify the closure are not accurate,” adding that dementia sufferers too often “slip through the net”. 

    She said: “People do not find Netherwood through the usual channels, they come across it through word of mouth. The demand for this service is real.”

    She said the physical design of the building at Netherwood was best for dementia sufferers, and added: “At present the council does not even have the sketchiest idea of how things will work 

    at Kingsgate... We are aware that budgets are squeezed, but cutting a lifeline like Netherwood is a cut too far and too deep.”

    More than 1,000 people have already signed a petition urging Cllr Gould to back down from the proposals, and Labour ward councillor Doug Beattie said at the meeting that his cabinet colleagues should heed the strength of public feeling over the changes.

    The issue of the cost of adult social care services has risen to the top of the council’s agenda amid concern that Camden has been asked to do more with less funding. Even with a precept on council tax to cover costs, agreed last year, Cllr Gould has warned that budgets are becoming dangerously tight. 

    Cllr Gould said: “We are facing huge demands and massive cuts at the same time, and the current situation can’t continue. We are looking at a number of proposals to do services differently. The reality is that Netherwood has six users per day, and the days I visited it, it was actually lower.”

    She added that the use of day centres had seen a downturn across London.

    “We are not proposing to close the service,” she added. “We are proposing to move it, but I’m not for one moment saying that that is easy for the six individuals who use it on a daily basis.”

     

    Comments

    InHuman

    Cllr hoping patients will die after she moves them from the expensive building they are using, easy to move most vulnerable people that are not able to voice their opinions or protest. No one likes to be enclosed in cage with no space, all done for council to grab money to waste on their projects and to keep their billionaire contractors.
    Camden Council loves to take away vulnerable people homes and they do not care how ‘brutal’ it is done when they want a particular building that fits in with their grand scheme of things. Council only wants to use vulnerable people to get more money from government to waste on their pet projects and could not give a fig for anything or anyone else. Camden has become a very dangerous place for disabled and vulnerable people to live in now.
    Staffs will not want to work in half-finished building they will also suffer. Maybe Cllr thinks patients will finish off building work for them. Make one wonder if these politicians are halfway human.

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