Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Brother campaigns against Hampshire care home closures

Graeme Iverson
Image caption Graeme Iverson is usually cared for by his brother Alistair

A man who cares for his disabled brother is campaigning against the planned closure of three care homes in Hampshire.

Alistair Iverson says the closure of Fareham, Winchester and Aldershot homes will reduce respite care provision.

The Conservative-led county council says the changes form a new care model while also saving £1m.

These closures are planned despite the government announcing £400m for carers' respite breaks in November.

Hampshire County Council is also consulting on merging two other care homes and relocating one, cutting the number of care homes from nine to five.

A council spokesman said rather than using "traditional in-house services", more Shared Lives carers would be recruited to "support people with learning disabilities in their homes".

Petition opposing closure

Mr Iverson has looked after his brother Graeme, who has Down's Syndrome, for the past eight years.

He uses Croft House in Fareham as a respite centre which allows him and his wife 21 days off a year.

The consultation plans a "reduction in the amount of Hampshire County Council's respite provision in Hampshire to match demand".

Mr Iverson says reduced demand is due to council restrictions on the number of days offered for respite care.

His petition opposing Croft House's closure has gained support from some local carers.

"We don't believe we'll be able to get respite when we want to have it," he said.

Hampshire county councillor Felicity Hindson said the changes would mean separating respite and crisis patients.

"People who are having a crisis aren't actually going to help those having respite care."

She wants specialised centres and more crisis care in the home.

Ms Hindson said the plans were "not about money", although the council had to meet a £55m funding gap.

'No reasonable alternatives'

But Mr Iverson asked why the council cannot use existing buildings in their plans.

He also said that crisis cases were often last minute situations rather than having greater medical requirements.

Shutting down houses such as Croft House will make it harder for people to reach respite care, he argues.

Ms Hindson acknowledged the difficulty of travelling for some families, saying travel "will be arranged for those who don't have access to transport in their family".

But Mr Iverson said the council was "taking away local services from local communities" and believed "no reasonable alternatives are being offered as to how we are going to get respite".

The consultation is now closed and a final decision is due on 16 May.

If agreed, care homes would shut in the summer.

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