Livewire - July 13, 2011

Have your say

By Colin Ogden of Grange Park

What a close call! Closing Hoyle House Rehabilitation Centre on Argosy Avenue, Grange Park, would have been a travesty. Thanks for the change of heart – and let’s stop making cutbacks that directly affect the elderly people of our town.

All too often they are seen as an easy target. But they have worked all their lives and have made their contribution to society. As they become older they depend on the services and facilities that should be available.

I am my mother’s carer, she is 89. We have experienced the excellent services of the ARC (assessment and rehabilitation centre) in Blackpool, and the services at Hoyle House are equally as good. Its loss would have denied those who use it and others to come. Once they are gone, they are gone, it is difficult to bring them back.

It was seen as a step too far by the new-look council, and I thank them for ending cutbacks that added Hoyle House to council-run care homes and other facilities that have closed.

My fear is day care centres will be subject to budget cuts in some form, my mother attends one at Highfield Road, and can’t speak highly enough of it.

Without them many elderly people would be denied the chance to socialise with other people, and would be trapped within their homes 24/7.

The Government claims to favour care in the community, but removes the support to councils for providing such, at a level that actually makes a proper difference.

I seriously wonder if they have ever asked those affected just what they want, or if they decide first and then offer what passes for so called consultation today, before imposing their wishes upon the rest of us.

Care in the community is good, but not at the cost of established facilities such as Hoyle House and day care centres. Blackpool Council’s own community care team does an excellent job, even with cutbacks. Blackpool also uses care agencies, which do an excellent job, but need to make a profit, and I’d rather the authority invested in its own team to cope with an ever ageing population, or directly employed other staff.

The council’s past record for closures of care facilities just begs the question – what next?

Thanks for restoring some of our faith in local democracy, Blackpool Council. Long may it continue.